The Art of Mosaic

The American University of Rome

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Art of Mosaic

  • Host University

    The American University of Rome

  • Location

    Rome, Italy

  • Area of Study

    Studio Art

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Pre‐Requisites: 100‐level Fine Arts, Art History or Archeology course or permission of the instructor.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course description
    Since antiquity mosaics have been appreciated for their unique characteristics: the polychromous “stone carpets” in luxurious Roman villas, the shimmering of light on the golden background of Byzantine churches, the colorful patchwork of Gaudi’s imaginative architecture. This course gives an overview on the history and iconography of mosaics, in their different styles and contexts. It also aims at introducing students to the main techniques and materials used for creating mosaics, with a focus on traditional approaches. The practical laboratory work plays an important role in the course, and students will create their own mosaic, using traditional materials such as lime, stone dust, brick dust and tesserae of various types. Techniques for the conservation and restoration of mosaics will also be covered through relevant case‐studies.

    Recommended Readings (subject to change)
    - Dunbabin, Katherine M. D. Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World. Cambridge University Press, 1999, 279 ‐ 290.
    - Fuga, Antonella. Artists' techniques and materials. J. Paul Getty Museum, 2006, 176 ‐ 197.
    AUR Library N7430 .F8413 2006

    Further Readings (subject to change)
    - The Getty Conservation Institute and Israel Antiquities Authority. Illustrated glossary: mosaics in situ project: definitions of terms used for the graphic documentation of in situ floor mosaics. The Getty Conservation Institute, 2003.
    - de Guichen, Gael, and Nardi, Roberto. “Mosaic Conservation: Fifty Years of Modern Practice.” Proceedings of the IX Conference of the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics, ICCM, Hammamet, Tunisia, Nov 29‐Dec 3, 2005. The Getty Conservation Institute, 2008, 9‐14.
    -Torraca, Giorgio. “Lime and lime mortars”. Lectures on Materials Science for Architectural Conservation. J. Paul Getty Trust, 2009, 50‐61.

    *Entry Fees Course fee (includes materials) Euro 75.  

    Course Learning Objectives
    At the end of the course, students will be able to:
    1. Identify and describe the iconography of mosaics through time, from antiquity to the modern era, as well as their main materials and techniques.
    2. Recognize and critically analyze the main issues related to the conservation of mosaics, both in situ and in museums.
    3. Realize their own mosaic, applying different techniques and selecting appropriate materials.

    Course Learning Activities
    - Class participation (CLO 1, 2)
    - On‐site visit participation (CLO 1, 2)  
    - Individual laboratory work for creation of a small mosaic (CLO 3)
    - Group laboratory work for creation of a wall mosaic (CLO 3)  
    - Technical report (CLO 3)

     Assessment tools
    Laboratory Work 30%
    Group‐work Participation 10%
    Mid‐Term Exam 20%
    Final Exam 20%
    Technical Report 20%


Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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