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Roman mosaics popular among wealthy Romans

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Mosaic in Villa del Casale
Mosaic in Villa del Casale

The preserved remains of Roman mosaics throughout the former Roman Empire are proof that wealthy Romans loved to decorate their homes. The works of art depicted various images: heroes, gods, women, animals, etc.

The mosaics in ancient Rome were made of coloured cubes (tessera), which the smaller the better they convey the perspective and chiaroscuro. The technique of arranging mosaics from the smallest possible pieces of cubes (even a few millimetres) was called opus vermiculatum. Very often, mosaics appeared in baths, where the floor rested on brick posts, creating a space under the surface for circulating warm air – this was the way to achieve a unique Roman floor heating system. In this way, it was necessary to rule out the use of heavy marble in favour of a light mosaic, which additionally added charm to the place where the Romans relaxed.

To see how much work accompanied slaves and artists in arranging such mosaics, one should go to Villa del Casale (Sicily), where 120 million colourful cubes were placed over an area of ​​4,000 square meters. This villa was probably built at the beginning of the 4th century CE.

More about Roman mosaics

  • Krzemińska Agnieszka, Luksus w kostkach, "Polityka", 7.08.2012
  • Szolginia Witold, Architektura, Warszawa 1992

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