Floor mosaic from Ilissos Basilica of Athens, created in the 7th century A.D.
Materials: natural stones, marbles and glass enamels.
Greek Ministry of Culture.
The procedure for creating an authentic reproduction of an ancient mosaic is the same as the ancient process at all stages of its creation: collection of materials, apotyposis, cutting and placement of the tesserae, binders, apocatastasis.
The process of configurating the tesserae, the cut of the material – it reminds me of writing. The special tools I use, like cutters and wedges, are exactly like the tools the mosaicists used through the Hellenistic era, helping me create the proper tesserae that every project needs.
A mosaic is like a common language of the Mediterranean Sea deriving from antiquity. I feel blessed and honored for having the opportunity to speak this language and bring this heritage to life, while restoring roman and Byzantine mosaics or creating original reproductions of mosaics of all periods. Because we have the obligation to make history a part of tomorrow.
Today in Greece, the "arche" (the beginning) of mosaic art is considered to be a floor mosaic which was discovered a few years back, at the Minoan Palace of Mallia in Crete, crafted about 3.250 years ago. Whilst the first full range of mosaics has been discovered in the ancient city of Pella in Macedonia, close to Thessaloniki. These are floor mosaics made of pebbles and depict various scenes deriving from the Greek Mythology. Other important pebble mosaics that have been reported come from Olynthos, Eretria, Sikyon and Rodos. Meanwhile, it was at the ancient Greek city of Pergamos in Ionia (Turkey), where glass enamel was used for the first time ever, on making mosaics.
The city of Alexandria (Egypt), the centre of the Hellenistic civilization 2.300 years ago, is another example of reported novelty, since it was there where pebbles were cut for the first time so that their flat side could be used as a surface to walk upon. This technique employs marble cut into four ('tessera' in Greek) pieces. In Latin, this is the so-called opus tesselatum type. Also in Alexandria, there was another invention: the Emblema, a portable mosaic made of very small tesserae (Opus vermiculatum), and it was here where the first international market of mosaics was established. The iconography of this period borrows its themes from famous paintings and appears to draw large inspiration from the theatre. Also in this period, we witness the development of wall decoration in the Imperial throne room (Alexandria) and in various sacred places.