Top Ten Mosaics

Top Ten Mosaics

Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral. Small pieces, normally roughly cubic, of stone or glass of different colors, known as tesserae, (diminutive tessellae), are used to create a pattern or picture.

  1. St. Peter’s Basilica Mosaic, Italy

           A “painting” made from tesserae in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican State, Italy.
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  2. Alexander the Great vs. Darius

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  3. Florence Baptistry

  4. Moses

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  5. Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios, Greece
           Although geographically distant from each other, these three monasteries belong to the same typological series and share the same aesthetic characteristics. The churches are built on a cross-in-square plan with a large dome supported by squinches defining an octagonal space. In the 11th and 12th centuries they were decorated with superb marble works as well as mosaics on a gold background, all characteristic of the ‘second golden age of Byzantine art.’
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  6. Nile Mosaic of Palestrina

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  7. St. Peter

           Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and who is venerated as a saint. The son of John or of Jonah, he was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee. His brother Andrew was also an apostle. Peter is venerated in multiple churches and is regarded as the first Pope by the Catholic Church. After working to establish the church of Antioch, presiding for seven years as the city’s bishop he preached to scattered communities of believers (Jews, Hebrew Christians and the gentiles), in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor and Bithynia. He then went to Rome, where in the 2nd year of Claudius, it is claimed, he overthrew Simon Magus and held the Sacerdotal Chair for 25 years. He is said to have been put to death at the hand of Emperor Nero. Peter wrote two Catholic Epistles. The Gospel of Mark is also ascribed to him (as Mark was his disciple and interpreter). On the other hand, several books bearing his name, the Acts of Peter, Gospel of Peter, Preaching of Peter, Revelation of Peter, and Judgment of Peter, are rejected by the Catholic Church as Apocryphal. According to New Testament accounts, Peter was one of Twelve Apostles chosen by Jesus from his first disciples. Originally a fisherman, he was assigned a leadership role by Jesus and was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few Apostles, such as the Transfiguration. Peter is said to have been crucified under Emperor Nero, the cross being upside down at his own request since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus Christ. Catholic tradition holds that Saint Peter’s mortal bones and remains are contained in the underground Confessio of the St. Peter’s Basilica, a site where Pope Paul VI announced the excavation discovery of a 1st century AD Roman cemetery in 1968. Since 1969, a life-size statue of Saint Peter is crowned every year in St. Peter’s Basilica with a Papal Tiara, Ring of the Fisherman and papal vestments every June 29, commemorating the Holy Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
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  8. Ancient Greek Deerhunt Mosaic
           Ancient Greek mosaic, a deer hunt, detail from the mosaic floor, signed “Gnosis created” (“ΓΝΩΣΙΣ ΕΠΟΗΣΕΝ”) in the House of the Abduction of Helen at Pella, late 4th century BC, Pella Archaeological Museum.
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  9. Ulysses Mosaic

           Roman mosaic of Ulysses, from Carthage. Now in the Bardo Museum, Tunisia
  10. Carolingian Mosaic, Germigny-des-Prés

           Carolingian mosaic in Germigny-des-Prés.
  11. Deesis Mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

           Mosaic of Christ Pantocrator from Hagia Sophia from the Deesis mosaic.
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  12. The Chieftain Mosaic

           The so-called Gothic chieftain, from the Mosaic Peristyle of the Great Palace of Constantinople.
  13. St. Demetrius

           Early 12th century Kievan mosaic depicting St. Demetrius.
  14. Villa Romana La Olmeda, Palencia, Spain

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  15. Poseidon Mosaic

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  16. Paphos Mosaic

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  17. Perkūnas

           Perkūnas was the common Baltic god of thunder, one of the most important deities in the Baltic pantheon. In both Lithuanian and Latvian mythology, he is documented as the god of thunder, rain, mountains, oak trees and the sky. He corresponds to Perun from Slavic mythology.
  18. Bonus: Zodiac Mosaic, Sepphoris

           Zodiac wheel on the floor of the synagogue in Sepphoris.
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  19. Man Fishing

  20. Bonus: Greek Bikini Girls

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  21. Bonus: Cave Canem Mosaic

           Cave canem mosaics (‘Beware of the dog’) were a popular motif for the thresholds of Roman villas
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