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How micromosaics are made

It would be easy to mistake a ‘Micromosaic’ for a painting: put together from thousands of minute and very fine glass pieces, the finished product is characterised by such an astonishing level of detail that makes it difficult to believe that the scene had not been painted with a brush.

Watch how micromosaics, an art form that thrived in Italy from 1775 into the 19th century, are painstakingly created from tesserae cut from long glass strands called smalti filati. A mosaic artisan recreates a small section of a 1850s mosaic table in this Victoria and Albert Museum video.

gilbert collection - micromosaic recreation
gilbert collection - micromosaic recreation
gilbert collection - micromosaic recreation
The Flora and Two Sicilies by painter and mosaicist Michaelangelo Barberi “was commissioned by the Russian Tsar Nicholas I (reigned 1825-55), and shows the profile of his daughter Olga in the centre.” It’s one of many exquisite pieces in the Gilbert Collection at the V&A.

gilbert collection mosaic recreation
Next: Ceramic artist Michelle Erickson recreates an 18th-century agateware teapot, Tableaux Vivants: Caravaggio paintings performed live, and moving and restoring an ancient Greek mosaic.

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