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Definition of mosaic

Mosaic is an art form which involves fitting small pieces of rock, shell, tile, or glass called tesserae together to create a pattern which may be abstract or representational. Some of the finest examples of mosaic can be found in ancient art from the Greco-Roman world, and in Byzantine churches. This craft can be used to decorate everything from chests of drawers to floors, and it has been a part of the artistic expression of many cultures all over the world.


Mosaic art is very much in demand particularly for interior desgin. The beauty of mosaic art lies in the creativity of the artist wherein the artist has to decide placement of the shapes (small pieces of materials such as glass or stone) to create beautiful and intricate mosaic designs and patterns. Mosaic forms and designs have been in use for a great number of years. The term, mosaic, is derived from a Greek word. The Greek meaning is ‘patient work.’ Truly, mosaic art is like a tradition that is passed down from generations wherein the artist requires ample patience to create such a work of art.

The most famous mosaic designs and patterns from the olden days date back to the 6th century. The mosaics of Ravenna in Italy, created by little pieces of glass continue to mesmerize people. Since then, mosaic art has been considered to be the most versatile kind of art form. Whether they are used on walls, ceilings, and floor panels or even on furniture, mosaic art has uniqueness in its entire layout and design.

Mosaic designs and patterns

Mosaic designs can range from the simple to the complex kinds. In the olden days, mosaic designs and patterns were used to depict stories from the Bible. Thus, many mosaic patterns were based on religious themes. The creativity of this art form is visible throughout history. The beautiful mosaic patterns can be seen on the walls and floors of spectacular cathedrals and public buildings from the olden era. These religious designs were done on various surfaces and mosaics soon became a part of Christian art. From marble to glass, the artists worked endlessly to perfect such paintings.

Today, mosaic designs are used to accentuate interiors. This can be in the form of a painting or even as a design upon tabletop. There are many modern techniques that are used to make the creation of mosaic design an easy process. These modern methods of production make it possible to achieve effects such as gradation within a particular tile. (This was a tedious process in the ancient days when glass was used although it is considered to be very durable.)

An artist can create numerous designs and patterns in mosaic art. From various colors and shapes, an artist can work using ceramic tiles, pieces of glass, natural clay or even colored glaze. An artist can create geometrical patterns or even depict humans through mosaic art. It all depends upon the mood an artist wants to create or the kind of theme he/she is working upon.

There are two basic steps in the application of mosaic designs and patterns:

Indirect method: The indirect method is used to cover larger areas wherein the artist cannot physically stand and create the pattern. The mosaic design is created and placed on a sheet of paper that has adhesive on one side. This is then flipped and pasted over the required surface.

Direct method: With this technique, the mosaic patterns are created directly onto the required surface. This is useful to create smaller designs.

In the recent times, many more techniques are being developed which incorporate these basic methods. The patterns and designs that can be created are limitless. The beauty and intricacy of mosaic art is what makes it one of the most favorite decorative styles today.
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