What is mosaic?

Mosaic is an art form which uses small pieces of materials placed together to create a unified whole. The materials commonly used are marble or other stone, glass, pottery§, mirror or foilbacked glass, or shells. At the most simple definition, mosaic is a picture or other design constructed from smaller pieces§ . As well as the sub!ect and style of the design, it is the choice of materials, plus the skill in creating and placing the pieces that contribute to the personal, artistic and practical "alue of the mosaic. A special feature is that the pieces are normally solid and durable. The physical #ualities of the

materials add greatly to the significance of the mosaic. Materials may be reflecti"e or iridescent $glass, gold, mirror%. Mosaics can be &-dimensional, and can incorporate ob!ects and unusual items. The word mosaic is from the 'talian mosaico deri"ing from the (atin mosaicus and ultimately from the )reek mouseios meaning belonging to the Muses§, hence artistic. The term for each piece of material is Tessera§ $plural* tesserae%. The term for the spaces in between where the grout goes is the interstices. Andamento§ is the word used to describe the mo"ement and flow of Tesserae§. The +opus+, the (atin for ,work-, is the way in which the pieces are cut and placed. What Mosaics can be?     A medium and e.pression of creati"ity /ine art Public art§ 'ntegrated into architecture, indoors and outdoors

Tiles and mosaics are so closely connected it can be hard to make distinctions. )eometric tile arrangements are mosaics, and many mosaics are made of tiles, whether glass or ceramic. 0ften the tiles are cut, shaped, patterned or decorated. They may be purpose-made for the mosaic. 'f you get interested in mosaic§, you+re likely to be interested in tiles and ceramics $such as architectural ceramics%, brickwork patterns, flooring patterns $such as 1osmati work% as well. The 2oy of 3hards Mosaics 4esource will help you e.plore and disco"er mosaic. There are plenty of e.amples of these related arts too, to take your interest further.

5ow does mosaic art relate to other art forms?

6ainting 7 At first sight, not a great deal in common perhaps. Mosaic was often chosen as an alternati"e to painted fresco in 8y9antine buildings. Much later, the style of painting known as 6ointillism, most associated with )eorges-6ierre 3eurat $:;<=-:;=:%, used dots of paint, rather than brushstrokes $see picture, source* Wikipedia%. 6ointillists used a limited range of colors, but had disco"ered that, side-by-side with other dots, these colors would be blended by the "iewer+s eye into other colors, gi"ing a special "ibrancy to the work. The painter Marc 1hagall $:;;>7:=;<% designed e.tensi"ely for mosaic murals. ?ltimately, indi"idual placement of pieces within a mosaic can be as delicate as the brush strokes of a master painter. 1ollage 7 6i#ue assiette mosaic, like much collage work, uses found ob!ects and e"eryday items as its materials.
Patchwork quilting §7 geometric collages of fabric share many aspects with tiling patterns and

tessellations.