Mosaic School at Ravenna
Ravenna, with its 5th and 6th century basilicas, baptisteries and mausoleums, is the world’s largest repository of the Byzantine style of mosaics during a great period of the art form.
Represented are mosaics tied directly to the Byzantine rulers Justinian and Theodora and the Empress Galla Placidia and the Ostrogoth ruler Theoderic.
Luciana Notturni is a world expert on classic mosaic technique, a warm personality, a wonderful teacher. The classes are in English. We had a translator for those times when Luciana wished to speak in technical Italian terms and leave the translation to an English translator.
The focus is on making a classical piece following tracings of actual parts of the mosaics in situ in the town. If one is completed, there may be time to make a mosaic of one’s own design using the materials in the studio. A guided tour of most of the monuments is part of the class.
Mosaic for a hearth
This mosaic, designed to fill an area over a hearth, measures 26” x 57” and is made of smalti, essentially the same material used in Byzantine mosaics, though today we have a broader palette, especially in reds and oranges.
It was conceived as a triptych, a classical touch echoing the folding screens of religious connotations.
When I took the workshop in Ravenna, this was criticized for using the “industrial” form of the mosaic, by which Luciana meant that I had used the cut tesserae as they arrived from the manufacturer, and hadn’t given the work the personal touch of re-shaping pieces before applying.
Another classical principle not followed- ending lines with triangular shapes. I simply used the squared ends, but I still like this composition.