Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/648

This page needs to be proofread.


MOSAICS 590

others. Unfortunately many of the earlier mosaies were destroyed by the senate, it is said, on the advice of Titian, to make room for the new work. The con- dition of many of them was bail. Amongst his many other works. Kapha(-1 designed for mosaic. The "Creation of the World" in the Chigi Chapel, Santa Maria ilel Popolo, Rome, from his design, is very fine. It w:us done in mosaic by Luigi di Pace, who came from W'liice for the purpose. Baldassare Pcruzzi also designed mosaic for Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, and K. Znechio executed a mosaic in Santa Maria Scala- Ca-li, whilst the work in St. Peter's w;is commenced under Muziano ila Brescia. That the mosaic art had degenerated altogether and lost its vitality is evi-


MOSAICS


Fig. 12— Mosaic of "ANNrN-. 1 1 1 1. .% ■ lUvl i i,v i'li rn.i ( 'avaluni From apse of S. .Maria in irastcverc, Rome

denced by the work done in St. Peter's, Rome, from the seventeenth century under this same Muziano da Brescia (1528-1592) and other artists.

The establishment of the pontifical works com- menced in 1727 when the Cristoferi were appointed superintendents by order of Benedict XIII. After occupying various localities these mosaic works were finally settled in a corlile of the Vatican in 1825. In the first half of the seventeenth century the paintings and frescoes of the basilica began to be imitated in mosaic. The quality of the work errs on the side of excessive smoothness, as much as some modern work errs on that of excessive and affected roughness. Other works of the eighteenth and nineteenth centu- ries and great restorations kept the art alive, notably those of St. John Lateran's and St. Mark's, Venice, by the Italian mosaicists. The " Last Judgment " on the facade of St. Mark's was designed by Latanzio Querano in 1836. In 1839 a school of mosaicists arose in Rus- sia, its primary object being the restoration of the mosaics of Sancta Sophia in Kieff, and eventually Pius IX allowed certain of the pontifical mosaicists in 1850 to go to St. Petersburg and join the Russian mosaicists. An example of their work was shown in the interna- tional exhibition held in Hyde Park, London. The mosaics of the Ru.ssian church, London, are not, how- ever, very successful.

Numerous mosaics have been executed in England during the last half century, notably the figures of great painters in the Museum of South-Kensington. The earliest of the.se were done by Venetians, but some of the more recent figures wi-re executed at the works of South-Kensington itself. Many mosaics were done in St. Paul's cathedral, London ; those in the choir were designed by Sir W. B. Richmond, and under the dome some strong figures were designed by


Mr. Watts, R..\. The mausoleum at Frogmore is also elaborately decorated with mosaic, as is the mon- ument of Prince .Mhcrt in Hyde Park, Ixilh designed by John Clayton, who is al.-io responsible for the Brampton chapel in Westminster cathedral. Mr. W. C. Symons designed the mosaics for the chapel of the Holy Souls of Westminster cathedral in which mosaic work is still being inserted in the various chapels. The writer of the present article designed a mosaic of the "Last Judgment" for the church of the Annunciation, Chiselhurst ; a figure of Bles.sed Giacomo di Ulma for South-Kensington, and an "Epiphany" for the frontal of an altar at the Assumption Church, Warwick Street, with other works elsewhere.

In .Vachen the mosaic of the dome of Charlemagne was restored, or rather redone, in 1869. In France, various mosaics of fair excellence have been executed, but unfortunately the grand style of the early cen- turies, so exceptionally suitable to the art, has not been attempted. The modern French mosaic ap- pears to have been initiated by Signor Bellini, one of the Vatican mosaicists, at the close of the eighteenth century, who became the principal of the "manufac- ture royale" — one of its productions is in the Salle de Melpomene in the Louvre; the design was by Baron Gerard and M. Baudry Garnier, and the mosaic by Curzon Facchino. The mosaics at the Opera are of Italian execution. In 1876 a national school of mosaic was formed, when M. Gerspach was sent to Rome and obtained, with the consent of the pope, the services of Signor Poggesi of the Vatican works. The execution of the apse of the Panthdon from de- signs of M. Herbert was the principal work that followed, but the design is moderate, although con- sidered good in its time. This national school soon became extinct, and the mosaics since done have been by private enterprise. Amongst these is that in the apse of the Madeleine and that over the grand staircase of the Louvre. M. Ravoli has designed some mosaics for the new cathedral of Marseilles.

Technique. — The making of a mosaic picture has differed in various periods and under various manu- facturers, and the cements into which the tesserse were fixed have been the subject of discussion and, in some medieval examples, of secrecy. Historically no cement has effected a permanent mosaic, as nearly every ancient example not destroyed is partially restored. The following interesting account is from the personal examination by Messrs. Schultz and Barnsley of the old work at St. Luke's of Stiris:

"The method of fixing the mosaic was as follows: — Over the structural brickwork of the surfaces to be covered, a coat of plaster was spread; this, like the first coat of plaster in ordinary wall coverings, was roughened on the face in order to make a second coat of finer stuff adhere. On the surface of this second coat, which was evidently of a very slow- setting nature, the main lines of the mosaic figure or composition were sketched on in tone with a brush, and the mosaic cubes were then pressed into this from the face, forcing up the stuff between the cubes in order to act as a key. We are inclined to think that, at any rate in the case of the single figures, the first cubes put in position were the double or treble row of gold tes.seriB which enclosed the subject; we have found in many cases that these do not correspond with the lines of the figures as executed, odd spaces be- tween the lines and the final outline of the figure having been filled up with further gold cubes after the mosaics of figure had been finished in position. The backgrounds are universally formed of gold tessera;, while the figures of subjects are composed of cubes of many colours and gradations of tone. The principal colouretl ('ubes are cut out of sheets of opaque coloured glass, while the lighter ones, such as the flesh tints, etc., are of marble. The gold mosaics are formed in the usual manner; a piece of gold leaf,