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The Alexander Mosaic. ROMAN MOSAICS Opus tessellatum Tessellae / tesserae Opus sectile Opus vermiculatum Polychrome emblemata.

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Presentation on theme: "The Alexander Mosaic. ROMAN MOSAICS Opus tessellatum Tessellae / tesserae Opus sectile Opus vermiculatum Polychrome emblemata."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Alexander Mosaic

2 ROMAN MOSAICS Opus tessellatum Tessellae / tesserae Opus sectile Opus vermiculatum Polychrome emblemata

3 MOSAICS: General background & Styles - A Greek idea - made from cubes of stone from 2 nd Century BC - Used as floor and wall decoration Fashion evolved (till 2 nd Century AD) - black/white geometric - polychrome, decorative patterns - scenes in style of Greek painting A luxury, displaying wealth. - some made on site inset directly in floor - floor prepared, leveled, straw/mortar/ brick/lime layers to give solid foundation all on a bed of wooden planks - some prefabricated in workshop -held together with a glued cloth -taken to site and laid in frame in soft mortar, glue dissolved and cloth removed. -called emblemata (Gk for portable mosaic) OPUS VERMICULATUM -figured scenes made from tiny tesserae, small (1-4mm) coloured cuboid stones. - Set into wet mortar in flowing lines and curves (worm-like) – like brush strokes. -tiny tessarae in graduated colours simulated painting. - Hadrians mosaics are fine examples.

4 Some fine example of geometric patterns in mosaic black/white floors of Hadrians Villa

5

6 The Basics - 2 nd Cent BC - Adapted from earlier painting? - Place – House of the Faun, on floor of exedra on north side of first peristyle by 5.50m - Technique – Opus vermiculatum (wormlike). Curve and wind around -Tesserae (stone pieces) very small.

7 Content Battle of Issus 333 BC, or Gaugamela in 331 BC Alexander on horseback, Bucephalus, spearing an enemy Persian King, Darius III, fleeing on chariot

8 Style More like a painting than a mosaic. Much more three dimensional than normal mosaic. Realistic depiction of scene by using: Shadowing – light from left Shading Foreshortening – Horses proportions correctly rendered in relation to the angle from which we see it, so that the part of the animal that is further away is shortened Sense of depth through overlapping and three quarter views

9 Features linking to third or fourth century BC Limitation of colours to white, yellow, red and black, the four colour technique adopted by fourth and fifth century BC Greek painters Scarcity of landscape features (only a tree and rocks) Shallow depth of field in scene, any depth being conveyed by foreshortening and overlapping

10 Composition Persian King the key figure He is above the rest, while Alexander slightly lower, is still above figures on his side Darius arm outstretched and Alex spear raised Linked by gesture and intensity of stare Alexander given a wild eyed intensity Darius portrayed sympathetically - looks in dismay Rest of action is a jumble of soldiers, weapons and horses, conveying chaos and confusion of battle Focus Greek inspired art, human participants focus

11 Question In what ways is a sense of confusion or chaos depicted?


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