A History of Mosaics

A History of Mosaics

A History of Mosaics

A History of Mosaics

Excerpt

No general history of mosaics has been written since Gerspach little book, La Mosaïque, appeared over half a century ago, and that was never translated into English. Mosaics, for the most part, have been treated in general histories of art or painting. They deserve to be studied for themselves, and there ought surely to be a wider knowledge of one of the greatest artistic expressions of the early Christian period and the Middle Ages. It seems, moreover, worth while to continue their history to the present day, rather than to terminate it abruptly at the point when they ceased to be aesthetically good, especially when we consider the revival of interest in the art, as an art and not a craft, that has occurred in recent years.

A word as to the illustrations. The photographs have been chosen to show the best and the most characteristic of all the earlier mosaics of the great periods, and to show selected examples of later work in order to give an idea of the continuity of development. Mosaics, even more than painting or sculpture, lose in reproduction. They ought, of course, to be seen in place, in their architectural setting where the subdued light brings out the glowing, vibrating color. They cannot be well studied in museums, and, fortunately, very few of them have found there way there. But although photographs may be inadequate, they are usually better than the falsely colored reproductions which are sometimes published. It is to be regretted that more illustrations could not be included.

A glance at the notes and bibliography will show how great is the debt I owe to the researches and critical judgments of the many scholars, both of the past and the present, who have written about mosaics. I crave indulgence in advance for those instances where I may have inadvertently failed to give due credit for sources of information. I have tried to assemble as complete a bibliography as possible, for, as far as . . .

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