Wall mosaic from Acheiropoietos Basilica, Thessaloniki, created in the 5th century A.D.
Materials: glass enamels and gold leaf tesseras.
Greek Ministry of Culture.
Through an image, the mosaic language has the ability to accentuate the brightness and expression of the inivisible. (G. Severini)
Historical conjuncture has endowed even Greece with an impressive mosaic heritage, back from the early Christian era to the last centuries of the East Roman Empire. The so-called Byzantine Mosaics, a myriad of floor mosaics conserved in Basilicas and Temples throughout the country and mural mosaic masterpieces (opus musivum) such as the Rotonda, Osios David – Moni Latomou, Agios Dimitrios, Acheiropoiitos, Agia Sofia and SS. Apostoli in Thessaloniki, the Dafni Monastery in Chaidari, Osios Loukas Monastery in Boezia, Nea Moni in Chios and Parigoritissa in Arta, are only a few of Greece's cultural treasures to mention.
In places like these we can only begin to feel the sanctity. Mosaicists and iconographers have literally created some kind of a mass medium on the walls of these edifices. They really made wonders. One of their great technical achievments was making the best out of the phenomenon of the refraction of light by placing the tesserae in various depths and inclinations. They practically created a microcosmos inside the Temples. Their mosaic representations on the walls were much more than simple displays. They were some kind of a visual ritual, a sacred "show" for all of the senses, in a space filled with Byzantine Music (performed by the choirs of cantors and the Divine Logos by the priests), mysterious perfumes and incenses, and impressively illuminated icons - all creating a transcending experience.
Deciding wisely the form, the size, the depth and the inclination of the tesserae into the binder along with the proper use of shadows is what turned the heavy structures of the temple into airy architectural examples. So the mosaic became the temple. So the mosaic transformed into architecture itself.