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Thursday, October 19, 2017

3 mosaiques romaines : un chat, deux canards et une perdrix.




L'etude des mosaiques romaines revele enormement de choses sur la vie quotidienne des nos ancetres, et egalement sur la maniere dont travaillaient les mosaicistes antiques.



Je suis persuade que nos ancetres utilisaient des livres - catalogues de dessins pour montrer a leur clients ce qu'ils pourraient executer pour eux. Sur ce sujet, j'ai ecrit il y a quelques temps un article sur la Mona Lisa de Galilee et sa copie.


Voici a present trois superbes pieces qui illustrent fort bien comment les artistes de l'Antiquite se copiaient, ou peut etre s'empruntaient les modeles de leurs oeuvres.



Superbe mosaique en deux tableaux representant un chat attaquant une perdrix et deux canards mageant des fleurs de Lotus
Mosaique de sol. Villa du quartier romain de Cecchignola

Emblème d'une mosaïque de sol représentant un chat et deux canards. Opus vermiculatum, œuvre romaine de la fin de l'époque républicaine, premier quart du Ier siècle av. J.-C. Visible au Musee national de Rome - Pallazo Massimo alle Terme 



Superbe mosaique en deux tableaux representant un chat attaquant une perdrix et deux canards mageant des fleurs de Lotus assis a cote de fruits de mers et oiseaux prets a cuire
Mosaique de sol, Maison du Faune, Pompei

Mosaique provenant du Triclinium de la Maison du Faune a Pompeii, visible au Musee Archeologique de Naples (Museo Archeologico Nazionale - inv. nr. 9993).




Emblema mosaique, opus vermiculatum, Musee du Vatican
Mosaique de sol, Musee du Vatican


Mosaique de provenance inconnue visible au Musee du Vatican.


Ces trois pieces sont clairement apparentees. Leur architecture est similaire. Elles sont composees de deux tableaux superposes. Dans le tableau superieur, un chat attaque un oiseau, dans le tableau inferieur, deux canards vivants sont en accompagnes de divers mets - fruits, fleurs, fruits de mer et/ou petits oiseaux.

Ce type de mosaique "Emblema" etaient produits par des maitres artisans employes dans des ateliers tres specialises. Une fois terminees, elles etaient expediees pour etre inserees in situ au sein d'autres mosaiques de facture moins complexe.

Les experts s'accordent a penser qu'il devait au 1er siecle n'exister que deux de ces ateliers, probablement en Grece, et en Syrie ou Turquie.  

Je pense que les deux pieces de Pompeii et Ceccigniola furent executees dans le meme atelier, peut etre par le meme artiste, et que la piece du Musee du Vatican fut realisee plus tardivement par un artiste de moindre abilete. 

Comment les dessins passerent-ils de l'un a l'autre ? Je pense que les mosaicistes de l'antiquite disposaient de livres - catalogues de dessins transmis de Maitre a Apprentis ou copies, avec ou sans permission, par les artisans charges d'installer in situ les emblema expediees depuis l'atelier de production. 

Si vous avez des connaissances sur ce sujet, merci de bien vouloir les partager ! 


 Je suis un mosaïste Français 

vivant a Headland en Alabama 

dans le Sud des Etats Unis. 

J'aime inspirer les gens. 

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

How to create several mosaic portraits from one model.


Opus Pixellatum allows for an amazing range of variations and improvisations.

To illustrate this versatility, I have worked from an actual model of a mosaic portrait I have executed several times.  

Actual tiles are glued on top of model to realize the mosaic.
Green Eyes, opus pixellatum, 6 levels Grayscale


This model is designed on a six levels gray scale. The numbers are the references of Mosaic Art Supply "elementile 8 mm" recycled glass tiles. The mosaic once complete would measure 13 x 27". This mosaic is what you would obtain if you would scrupulously use the references printed on the model.

While the model calls for set colors, the mosaicist has all latitude to change them to fit his creativity and fantasy.

He can for example decide to change the colors from a Gray Scale to a Blue Scale.





From Gray to Blue Scale.



This is the simplest change that the mosaicist can use.

Other modes of variations can use 2 different scales. In this combination of a Blue and an Orange Scale, the respective darknesses of colors has been respected.

In this variation, the progression of darkness is respected.
Variation # 6


In this one, however, the progression in darkness is different for the colored scale than it is for the gray scale.

Here, the progrssion of Darkness is not respected.
Variation # 1

There are many more possibilities as illustrated below.



Opus Pixellatum Pop Art mosaic portrait model-simulation, light tones.
Green Eyes Mosaic, Variation #1

In the piece below, only every other tesserae are laid in accordance to the grayscale of the original model. then, the other tesserae are laid, the colors progress from Red on the Left to Blue on the Right.

Pixellized Pop Art mosaic portrait of a veiled woman's Eyes
Green Eyes Mosaic, Variation #2

The progression of colors in Variation #3 is similar to the Variation #1, with warmer tones.

Opus Pixellatum Pop Art mosaic eyes portrait simulation, light colors.
Green Eyes mosaic, Variation #3

#4 has brighter colors.


Pop Art Greeneyes mosaic portrait simulation - Bright.
Green Eyes mosaic, Variation #4

On #5 based on #3, every other tile is filled with a gray color.

Pop Art Greeneyes mosaic portrait simulation - half the tiles erased and filled with light gray color.
Green Eyes mosaic, Variation #5

#6 is a different repartition of brighter colors, still Blues, Yellows and Reds



Pop Art Greeneyes mosaic portrait simulation - Brightest
Green Eyes mosaic, Variation #6




In #7 based on #5, a gradient of colors has filled up every other tile.

half the tiles original colors erased and replaced by a color gradient
Green Eyes mosaic, Variation#7

#8 is a brighter, more contrasted version of #7



Green Eyes Mosaic, Variation #8


The filling gradient of #9 is darker than the one of #8


Green Eyes Mosaic, Variation #9

# 10 uses Green tones instead of the previous Blues used in #2 to #9

Green Eyes Mosaic, Variation #10

In #11 the lower veils is using reds where as the top of the image is similar to the top of #10



Green Eyes Mosaic, Variation #11


A totally different type of variation consists in the superposition of two layers of different images. In the 3 following examples, I have used an opus tessellatum image on top of the Opus Pixellatum. 


Superposition of 2 images in a modern mosaic portrait model
Green Eyes Mosaic, Variaton #12


Practically, this is done by first building the opus tesselatum piece by gluing the tesserae on top of a vinyl sheet that covers the tesselatum model, once this done, the mosaicists removes the Tesselatum model and inserts the Pixellatum model under the vinyl, and resume the execution of the mosaic, following the design of the Pixellatum model.

Opus Pixellatum and Tesselatum combination in Mosaic Portrait.
Green Eyes Mosaic, Variation #13

This may sound a little complicated, it is not really. I Plan to teach this technique during a seminar next spring.


Combination of Opus Pixellatum and Tessellatum on mosaic eyes portrait
Green Eyes Mosaic, Variation #14

Opus Pixellatum allows for a formidable array of variations. Only your imagination is the limit. Several of my students have experimented and obtained amazing results with this technique (Click here for my Post on Daniel Adams).

I encourage you to give it a try. 

I will email you, for free, the Gray scale Model at the top of this article.

Just contact me at frederic.lecut@mosaicblues.com

You just have it printed and get to work !




I am a French mosaicist


living in Headland, Alabama, USA.


My Art is about inspiring people.


You can see some of my work at www.mosaicblues.com





You can contact me either by phone 

at (334) 798 1639 or by email at 




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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Tour de France Mosaic - an hommage to the greatest bicycle race.

 
I started last week a piece about the Tour de France.

Even if you are not French or a bicycle aficionado, you probably have heard of the grueling bicycle race  organized in France every summer. It has been going on almost non-stop for over a century.

My friend John Henderson, owner of the Dothan Cycle and Fitness store commissioned this piece based on a poster related to the 1913 Tour de France.


This poster promotes the quality of the bicycles Louvet on which a Champion won several laps of the race.
Original JB Louvet Tour de France 1913 Poster


Because of the Art Nouveau style, I decided to use glass for this piece. The Map and Letterings will be  Opus Tessellatum, but I will use Opus Pixellatum to create a different background changed from plain Navy Blue to a gradient Dark Blue to Deep Purple. So I am using 2 models to build this mosaic.


2 models - Left Opus Pixellatum Background - Right Opus Tesselatum Foreground - for Tour de France mosaic.
The 2 models for the Tour de France mosaic.


Because I am using the reverse method, the model on the right is a mirror image of the original poster.

I laid the first tiles on October 6 , 2017, beginning with contour of France in bright Yellow.


The first tiles are laid on the outline of the country. It is better to lay the tiles limiting areas to start with.
First tiles laid ! October 6

On October 8, I had progressed well on the Red Road (La Route du Tour !), and ran out of yellow tiles... 



8 mm tiles are being used, often cut in 4 pieces each of them are 4 mm square.
The Tour de France mosaic, October 8

For now, waiting for the tiles I ordered from Mosaic Art Supply, I will be working on the man and his bike.

Stay tuned, I will keep you posted on my progress on this remarkable piece of bicycle Art !



I am a modern mosaic artist with a deep admiration for ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Arts.
You can see my own mosaics on my site at mosaicblues.  

If you are interested by my work or would like to drop me a line please contact me by email at frederic.lecut@mosaicblues.com or by phone at (334) 798 1639. 


You can also 




Sunday, October 8, 2017

3 Roman Mosaics figuring two ducks, a cat and a partridge.


There is a lot to learn by studying Roman mosaics about life in the Empire,  what people liked and disliked, how they lived, worked, died and loved. And of course about the ways of ancient mosaicists.

I believe our ancetors used some sort of catalogs of drawings to show their patrons (I do that !). It is likely some designs were simply copied, there were no copyrights in the Roman times... A few month ago I wrote about the Mona Lisa of Palestine and her copy.

Today lets look at 3 Roman pieces which very much illustrate how people were copying or borrowing each other's designs...



Central panel of a floor mosaic with a cat and two ducks. Opus vermiculatum, Roman artwork of the late Republican era, first quarter of the 1st century BC.
Floor mosaic from a Roman Villa (Rome - Cecchignola)



This piece comes from the triclinium (Banquet room) of a suburban villa of the Cecchignola area is currently visible a the Pallazo Massimo alle Terme - National Museum of Rome 



Roman mosaic representing a cat with a partridge in her mouth above ducks (on the left a male Eurasian Teal, on the right a Common Shelduck), birds, fish and shellfish.
Floor mosaic from the Villa of the Faun, Pompeii

This gorgeous piece from the triclinium of the House of the Faun in Pompeii is visible at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy.


Roman floor mosaic representing a cat biting a rooster above 2 ducks and fruits
Roman Floor mosaic of unknown provenance.  

This third piece unfortunately of unknown provenance and period can be seen at the Vatican Museum. 

These three pieces are closely related. They are similarly structured as a superposition of 2 scenes. In the upper panel a cat is biting a bird, a partridge in the first two mosaics, a rooster in the third one; In the lower panel two live ducks sit beside various edible material (lotus flowers in the Cecchignola piece; lotus flowers, dead birds and shellfish in the Pompeii piece: olives and apples in the bottom piece).


Emblema pieces were executed by highly skilled craftsmen operating out of specialized workshops. Once completed they were shipped in the whole empire to private or public buildings were other less skillful workers would mount them. There were very few workshops able to produce pieces of this quality. 

While the Pompeii and Cecchignola pieces are of close and excellent quality,  the last piece is of a inferior facture. This leads me to think that the first ones were executed in the same workshop, possibly by the same artist while the last one was executed later, in a different workshop, by a worker of lesser ability. 

How was the design passed from one shop to an other ? 

I believe our ancestors used hand-written and drawn books of patterns that apprentices would copy from their masters. Until archaeologists find and read these documents we won't know! 

If you have any knowledge on this subject, I would be very interested in hearing from you !



I am a modern mosaic artist with a deep admiration for ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Arts.


You can see my own mosaics on my site at mosaicblues.  

If you are interested by my work or would like to drop me a line please contact me by email at frederic.lecut@mosaicblues.com or by phone at (334) 798 1639. 








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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wall Art, T-Shirts, Mugs, Bags and Phone cases inspired by my Mosaics



Many people have told me they would like to be able to purchase prints or objects inspired by my work. 

After months of research, I finally found a company I trust to provide the quality I want for products derived from my work.

You will find on my new RedBubble Page many different products derived from my work : Mugs, Greeting Cards, Prints, Shirts, Cellphone cases, etc....

The page is organized by collections of mosaics so you can browse them to see for each design which product is available.


Rising Sun t-shirt
Rising Sun mini Skirt
Rising Sun phone case


Rising Sun Mug

Or you can chose to browse products to see which design is available for each one of them. 


Pan God Mug
Miura Hanshi Mug
Veiled B&W Mug



Red Tree Mug



Other products are available and I hope you enjoy these new opportunities. If you were interested by a product that is not available, please contact me and I'll try to find a way to create it for you.



I am a modern mosaic artist with a deep admiration for ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Arts.
You can see my own mosaics on my site at mosaicblues.  

If you are interested by my work or would like to drop me a line please contact me by email at frederic.lecut@mosaicblues.com or by phone at (334) 798 1639. 


You can also 



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Muses, Mosaic and Music.


Did you know that the two words Mosaic and Music have a similar ancient Greek root "μουσ" (mous) ?

Both words are relatives to the Muses, goddesses of the arts. Themselves a favourite theme of classical Roman mosaicists !


nine muses, traditional patronesses or Goddesses of the Arts
The nine Muses mosaic of Kos (Rhodes Island)


"Music" comes from the ancient Greek “μουσικός” (Mousikos)




"Mosaic" was formed from the ancient Greek "μουσεῖον" (Mouseîon)


This video is an accelerated take of my building the Mugen mosaic, a portrait of my late Border Collie Mugen who died 3 years ago, realized in Opus Pixellatum. The music is from Beethoven, and it is interpreted by my 2 nieces Charlotte and Luana. So here, you have the best of the 2 worlds of music and mosaic, a family business ! 









If you would like me to build a model of a mosaic portrait of your pet please contact me at frederic.lecut@mosaicblues.com



I am a modern mosaic artist with a deep admiration for ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Arts.
You can see my own mosaics on my site at mosaicblues.  

If you are interested by my work or would like to drop me a line please contact me by email at frederic.lecut@mosaicblues.com 
or by phone at (334) 798 1639. 


You can also 



Monday, September 18, 2017

The Mona Lisa of Gallilee - A case of plagiarism in Roman Mosaic Art ?


Since the beginning of humanity, artists have been borrowing from each other.  In a previous post, I wrote about the amazing similarities between a 2nd century BC Pasiphae Mosaic in Zeugma - Turkey and a 1st century AD fresco from the House of the Vettii in Pompeii, Italy. 

Today I'd like to share with you an example of a troubling resemblance between 2 Roman mosaics.




The stunning Mona Lisa of Galilee was unearthed from the ancient city of Sepphoris, an ancient town  grown between the 1st cent. BC and the 7th century to become a thriving administrative, commercial and religious center with a diverse, multi-ethnic and multi-religious population of some 30,000 living in relatively peaceful coexistence.

 


Roman mosaic portrait depicting a captivating woman adorned with earrings and a laurel garland, Triclium of the Roman Villa, Sepphoris, Galilee, Israel.
The Mona Lisa of Galilee

 

Her enigmatic smile can presently be admired in the antic town of Zippori on the Triclinium floor of the Roman Villa.


I stumbled on the "Mosaique au buste feminin" - Female Torso mosaic - browsing the Internet for Roman mosaic portraits, and she immediately reminded me of someone...

 

This gorgeous piece had been auctioned by a French Art Dealer for the modest price of 5,500.00 Euros.

 

 

Mosaïque au buste féminin. Elle représente le buste d'une femme, la tête légèrement tournée, les cheveux ceints d'une couronne végétale, dans un décor de rinceaux. Marbre, calcite et pâte de verre. Art Romain, ca. IVe siècle. 51,5 cm x 34,5 cm
Mosaique au buste feminin.

Although obviously the two pieces are not of the same aesthetic quality, the resemblance is stunning. This beauty cannot possibly be a copy made from memory. Either she was laid from a drawing made after the first piece, or the drawing used to lay her was a copy of the drawing used to lay the first piece.
Unfortunately, we do not know the provenance of this mosaic. My attempts at contacting the auctioneer were not successful. The catalog lists her as "ca 4th century AD", which would make both mosaics contemporary. 


Now, why would a modern mosaic artist care for this kind of things ? Well, maybe for the same reasons why Renaissance masters cared for Roman Art...


I am a modern mosaic artist with a deep admiration for ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Arts.
You can see my own mosaics on my site at mosaicblues.  

If you are interested by my work or would like to drop me a line please contact me by email at frederic.lecut@mosaicblues.com 
or by phone at (334) 798 1639. 


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