2 ROMAN MOSAICS Opus tessellatum Opus sectile Opus vermiculatum Tessellae / tesseraeOpus sectileOpus vermiculatumPolychromeemblemata
3 MOSAICS: General background & Styles - A Greek idea- made from cubes of stone from 2nd Century BC- Used as floor and wall decorationFashion evolved (till 2nd Century AD)- black/white geometric- polychrome, decorative patterns- scenes in style of Greek paintingA 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.- Hadrian’s mosaics are fine examples.
4 Some fine example of geometric patterns in mosaic black/white floors of Hadrian’s Villa
6 The Basics - 2nd 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 enemyPersian King, Darius III, fleeing on chariot
8 More like a painting than a mosaic More like a painting than a mosaic. Much more three dimensional than normal mosaic. Realistic depiction of scene by using:StyleSense of depth through overlapping and three quarter viewsShadingShadowing – light from leftForeshortening – 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
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 paintersScarcity 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 sideDarius arm outstretched and Alex spear raisedLinked by gesture and intensity of stareAlexander given a wild eyed intensityDarius portrayed sympathetically - looks in dismayRest of action is a jumble of soldiers, weapons and horses, conveying chaos and confusion of battleFocus Greek inspired art, human participants focusComposition
11 QuestionIn what ways is a sense of confusion or chaos depicted?