Mosaic Art

The revival and evolution of modern mosaic art

(5 min read) After a slow but gradual decline through the middle ages, mosaic art experienced a revival throughout the 19th century. A thriving tile industry led to a renewed interest in the usage of mosaic tiling patterns in both smaller abbeys and major religious buildings. Detailed religious scenes, interlocking patterns of ceramic tiles, as well as pseudo mosaic and opus sectile, can be seen throughout the chapels and landmark monuments all around the world, like the Sacre-Coeur in Paris and the Westminster Cathedral.

Mosaic Artworks in the Chapel of Westminster Cathedral, UK
One of the mosaic artworks in the chapel of Westminster Cathedral.


Westminster Cathedral Mosaic Artwork
West Door of the Westminster Cathedral.

Basilica of Sacre Coeur, France
Basilica of the Sacré Cœur — Apse’s mosaic, 1923. Photo by Didier B.

The revival of the Byzantine style of mosaic making was also fueled by the large concentration of wealth that the Victorian era brought with it. Accumulation of treasure and the financial prosperity contributed to the overall increase in domestic and public building and designing projects. Mass production of tiles ultimately renewed interest in the making of decorative floors, which also reflected in the Gothic revival in both architecture and design. Another considerable influence was Antonio Salviati, who is often credited with reviving the Venetian glass industry. He was one of the first manufacturers who saw the huge business opportunity in matching the ancient Venetian skill of mosaic making with the increased Victorian demand for glass mosaics.

Mosaic Artwork in Victorian Times
Mosaic artwork on “putty pots” was very popular in Victorian times.

Mosaic art was also embraced by the Art Noveau movement. One of the most famous results of this is the Park Gueli in Barcelona created by Antoni Gaudi and Josep Maria Jujol in the first two decades of the 20th century. Ceramic mosaics of park Gueli were produced with a technique known as trencadis, which includes covering surfaces of buildings with purpose-made and waste tiles. Aside from this, Gaudi and Jujol also incorporated broken crockery and a variety of other found objects into their creations, which led to some revolutionary ideas in architecture and formal art in general. Found objects started to be used as mosaic materials in a range of inventive ways. One of the most notable examples of the time is Victorian shell grottoes, as well as “putty pots”, where pieces of china, buttons, toy figures, and other found items adhere to the base with linseed putty. This particular type of collage of found and personal objects connected to everyday life is also known as “memoryware”.

Park Guell Mosaic Artworks
One of the details from Gaudi’s collection of mosaic artworks.

One of the most influential sites was also La Maison Picassiette in Chartres, northern France. It was created by Raymonde Isidore between 1938 and 1964 and it is often mentioned as a true monument of idiosyncratic creativity. Isidore covered his entire house and garden with a huge array of intricate and colorful mosaics of broken crockery. He was nicknamed “Piccassiette” which is French for “scrounger” and he is considered to be the founder of the very popular style of mosaic called “pique assette”.

La Maison Piccassiette by Raymonde Isidore
Frontal part of the La Maison Piccassiette created by Raymonde Isidore.

All of these novelties in terms of techniques and styles led to a pretty healthy and progressive state of mosaic art in modern times or the early 21st century. The field is rich with new and inventive approaches and ideas when it comes to materials, applications, and methods. Some of the leading figures of contemporary mosaic art are Emma Biggs (UK), Lorenzo de Rosso (Italy), Pamela Mauseth (US), Sonia King (US), Vasilisa Janojkic (Serbia), Marcelo de Melo (Brazil), and Saimir Strati (Albania). Organizations such as The Society of American Mosaic Artists, the British Association for Modern Mosaic, and many others were created to promote and further popularize mosaic art.

Vasilisa Janojkic Mosaic Artwork
Vasilisa janojkic with her notable mosaic artwork “Sveti Simeon Mirotocivi”


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M. Belosh

M. Belosh

Passionate art enthusiast; avid reader (you can find me on Goodreads under the same name); movie connoisseur; intolerable before my morning coffee.

30 Comments

  1. Paula Richie
    May 6, 2021 at 1:13 pm — Reply

    Wow! The La Maison Picassiette is an exquisite house–truly a work of art. I would love to know how much time it took to do this. We must make a note to visit it.

  2. P.
    May 7, 2021 at 1:50 am — Reply

    Very interesting post. Mosaic art is absolutely beautiful, I personally enjoy Gaudi’s collection. My visit to Barcelona is one of my dearest memories. Thanks fro bringing that cack to me.

  3. Mel Varey
    May 7, 2021 at 4:34 am — Reply

    I love mosaics and particularly the beautiful Gaudi art in Barcelona!

  4. Hollie
    May 7, 2021 at 9:40 am — Reply

    Wow this is gorgeous. I had no idea mosaic art was experiencing a revival but it’s so beautiful.

  5. Krysten Quiles
    May 7, 2021 at 10:17 am — Reply

    Eek this is so fun, thank you!

  6. Norma
    May 7, 2021 at 12:10 pm — Reply

    Mosaics are such beautiful pieces of artwork. It is so fascinating what they can look like and all the different styles they can portray.

  7. Dominique Walton Brooks
    May 7, 2021 at 1:08 pm — Reply

    That was some significant and beautiful work at La Maison Piccassiette. I wish you had taught my art history section when I was in high school! I might have learned something then! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Bella
    May 7, 2021 at 1:44 pm — Reply

    This is so pretty! The La Maison Picassiette is so wonderful! thanks for sharing

  9. Emily Fata
    May 7, 2021 at 2:20 pm — Reply

    SO many gorgeous mosaics, both old and new!

  10. Lee A.
    May 7, 2021 at 3:20 pm — Reply

    It is wonderful to see how mosaic designs have evolved over time, some of the pieces are timeless

  11. Heather
    May 7, 2021 at 6:36 pm — Reply

    I love mosaics! Especially those that have been around for so many years! It’s fascinating to hear the history.

  12. Gervin Khan
    May 7, 2021 at 10:30 pm — Reply

    Mosaic work is truly an amazing art that gives great vibes and the design looks really mesmerizing. This design gives the highest form of imagination and creativity.

  13. Selly
    May 8, 2021 at 8:10 am — Reply

    I love how mosaic art has been through a lot of changes over time, but it never fails to be beautiful.

  14. Renata Feyen
    May 8, 2021 at 4:57 pm — Reply

    I love the mosaic details from Gaudi’s collection it is stunning – the house is a bit too much of a good thing for me 🙂

  15. Sondra
    May 8, 2021 at 6:14 pm — Reply

    Wow this is beautiful. I would love to see it in person.

  16. Eloise
    May 9, 2021 at 1:36 am — Reply

    La Maison Piccassiette is amazing looking! I love quite a few of the art pieces you’ve shown, such beautiful detail and talent ; )

  17. Jasmine Martin
    May 10, 2021 at 8:54 pm — Reply

    These mosaic pieces are gorgeous. Mosaic art has definitely come a long way. I’m a huge fan of the details from Gaudi’s collection of mosaic artworks. It’s so unique!

  18. Ani
    May 11, 2021 at 4:39 am — Reply

    Stunning art. This is really informative and interesting post. I learned something new today 🙂

  19. VakT
    May 11, 2021 at 7:37 am — Reply

    Wonderful, Mosaic art is really so beautiful, Thanks for sharing this information.

  20. Kuntala
    May 11, 2021 at 4:00 pm — Reply

    I absolutely love mosaic art. It’s such a lovely medium. I find it fascinating how those small pieces come together to create one overall image or feel.

  21. Michael
    May 12, 2021 at 3:03 am — Reply

    I like to appreciate mosiac beauty because when you look them from a distance, it looks like they are just normal. But when you look at them closely, it gives you like something surprising that they are mosaicly done. =)

  22. Melissa Dixon
    May 12, 2021 at 9:55 am — Reply

    I love the looks of mosaic art. I want to add some to my garden this year. So pretty.

  23. Catherine
    May 12, 2021 at 10:27 am — Reply

    I didn’t even know there was mosaic art in Westminster! These are such beautiful pieces.

  24. Lyanna Soria
    May 12, 2021 at 11:45 am — Reply

    It would great to add something small scale like that in my garden. All of those mosaic artworks look absolutely beautiful!

  25. MELANIE EDJOURIAN
    May 12, 2021 at 2:17 pm — Reply

    There seems to be so much mosaic art all over the world. It looks so pretty.

  26. Nina
    May 12, 2021 at 4:12 pm — Reply

    It was very interesting to read this article about the revival and evolution of modern mosaic art. And to see some spectacular mosaic artwork in the attached photos! Thanks!
    Nina

  27. W.A.
    May 13, 2021 at 6:55 am — Reply

    I love the fact that there is a revival of mosaic art. It will always be timeless. I am excited as to how the art will be developed throughout our modern days.I love the fact that there is a revival of mosaic art. It will always be timeless. I am excited as to how the art will be developed throughout our modern days.

  28. CA
    May 13, 2021 at 6:56 am — Reply

    I love the fact that there is a revival of mosaic art. It will always be timeless. I am excited as to how the art will be developed throughout our modern days.

  29. Clarice
    May 13, 2021 at 11:41 am — Reply

    That was truly amazing on how it progressed over the years! Such beautiful masterpiece. So far the “putty pots” are my favorite

  30. Anz
    May 13, 2021 at 7:20 pm — Reply

    Wow! This was a great informative post. The mosaics look so beautiful 👌🏻 Thanks for sharing 🙂

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