History is not only told with written texts, but also and above all with figurative art.
Mosaics, artistic gems that embellish the international artistic and cultural heritage, combine beauty and narration, and rise above differences in religion and nationality for the sake of art and the exclusivity of each and every creation.
We will try and describe the most appreciated and famous mosaics by listing some of the best-known mosaic works in Italy and around the world.
So, what are the most popular famous mosaics? Keep on reading!
1. The Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates, is a blaze of white marble, domes, courtyards and gardens. It rises up on Al Ras Al Akhdar peninsula, near the Emirates Palace, one of the most majestic palaces in the world, and covers an area of over 150 hectares.
Designed to hold the President’s, the Crown Prince’s and the Vice President’s offices, the new Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi is the largest institutional centre of the country.
The 76 domes finely decorated with glass and gold mosaics were the work of Fantini Mosaici | Marmi, as well as the fascinating Arabic-style modern mosaic ornaments with elaborate mosaic decorations made of marble, gold, enamel and precious stones.
2. The Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, one of the wonders of the contemporary Arab-Islamic world, is considered the most important place of worship of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the largest and most majestic one, indeed it can accommodate 41,000 people.
The project was commissioned by the then President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. His goal was to build a facility in which to bring together the cultural differences within the Islamic world and the historical and modern value of art and architecture.
The amazing marble and mosaic cladding that envelops the entire majestic building was the work of Fantini Mosaici | Marmi. In particular, the company has provided its services for the manufacture of charming mosaics with floral inlays made of water cut marble in the Sahan Courtyard, which covers an area of 17,000 square metres and is the largest marble work ever made.
3. Palazzo Versace Hotel & Condominium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The field of opulent luxury requests refined materials and high-end craftsmanship. Palazzo Versace Hotel & Condominium is the most luxurious 5-star hotel in Dubai, in the heart of the new Cultural Village. Its style is unique as it combines an architecture that recalls the neoclassical style and takes inspiration from a 16th century Italian palace, and Arabic style decorative elements.
With 169 private luxury residences and 215 rooms and suites designed by Donatella Versace, 8 bars and restaurants, a sumptuous lobby, the exclusive Versace Spa and an outdoor area with three pools, the charming Palazzo Versace Luxury Hotel is a masterpiece of splendour and opulence.
The 70,000 square metres of mosaics, terrazzo floorings, and cobblestone floorings outside will leave you breathless. The magnificent, hypnotic and magnetic Medusa, Maison Versace’s logo since 1978, was reproduced on the floorings with thousands of mosaic tiles. Special mention should also be made of the superlative mosaic carpet, which is inspired by the pattern of Versace’s scarves and consists of over one million hand cut tiles.
The Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Mosque, Al-ʿAyn, United Arab Emirates
The imposing and majestic Sheikh Khalifa Bin Al Nahyan Mosque, located in the city of Al-ʿAyn, United Arab Emirates, was built in honour of the current President, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Al Nahyan. The marvellous dome has got a diameter of 80 metres and is decorated with no less than 40 million hand cut mosaic tiles that form suggestive decorations inspired by the calligraphy from the Quran.
4. St. Paul Catholic Student Center, Madison, United States
The mosaic façade of the St. Paul Catholic Student Center in Madison, Wisconsin, depicts the Coronation of the Virgin, which is inspired by the mosaic held in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome. Over 280,000 enamel and gold mosaic tiles were assembled to carry out this project.
5. Casa Casuarina, Miami Beach, United States
The spectacular and lavish Casa Casuarina, commonly referred to as The Villa, is located in the Art Déco Historic District in South Beach, the most famous area in Miami, Florida. Casa Casuarina once was the residence of celebrated Italian stylist Gianni Versace, as well as the sad setting of his murder back in 1997, and is today a 5-star hotel featuring an Italian gourmet restaurant and venues for exclusive events.
The marble and the mosaics that embellish the interiors and the exteriors of the villa are true mosaic masterpieces. In this case too, a recurring motif in the decorations is Medusa’s head, the brand’s suggestive logo, which you will also find in the mosaics of the outdoor pool that consist of over one million mosaic tiles, many of which are made of 24-karat gold.
6. Versace’s exhibition stand, Milan
For the 55th edition of Milan’s Furniture Fair in 2016, mosaic decorations of extraordinary beauty were created as setting for the Versace Home stand in Pavilion 3. In this case too, the protagonists are the iconic motifs that have made Maison Versace world famous, such as Medusa’s head and the Greek fret.
7. Faena Hotel, Miami Beach, United States
With its distinctive Art Deco style, the Faena Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, hosts amazing mosaic works. By crossing the opulent entryway with mosaics depicting the emblem of the hotel surrounded by seahorses, and going past the gigantic columns covered with gold sheets, and the fascinating wall paintings that portray tropical fauna, you will access the garden that features a café embellished with charming shell mosaics.
8. Apse mosaic, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is a basilica located in Rome in the square of the same name, and holds a mosaic work of enormous value. The apse was decorated in the 9th century, the golden age of mosaics, after being commissioned by Pope Paschal I. The apse mosaic of the church depicts Christ the Redeemer in the middle, with Saint Paul, Saint Cecilia and Pope Paschal I on the left, and Saint Peter, Saint Agatha and Saint Valerian on the right. The Pope is showing Jesus the scale model of the church.
Image source: Wikipedia.
Other famous mosaics:
9. Apse mosaic, Santa Pudenziana, Rome
Santa Pudenziana is a basilica in Rome, and it holds the city’s oldest apse mosaic which dates back to 390 AD. The work portrays Christ on the throne surrounded by the Apostles and two women who offer him a crown. Christ is the only one that has got a halo.
Image source: Wikipedia.
10. Apse mosaic, Basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano, Rome
The apse mosaic of the diaconal basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Rome dates back to the Roman-Byzantine period, and depicts the arrival in Heaven of the two saints whom the church is named after. Christ stands out in the middle on a carpet of clouds and is placed on a higher level compared to the other figures. Saint Peter, Saint Damian and Saint Theodore are standing on the right, and Saint Paul, Saint Cosmas and Pope Felix IV, the client of the mosaic, who is offering the scale model of the church, are placed on the left. The lower part of the mosaic portrays the Lamb of God with twelve lambs that represent Christ and the Apostles.
Image source: Wikipedia.