Mosaic tiles date back to the 3rd millennium in the historic region of Western Asia called Mesopotamia. It started out merely as combinations of small pieces of stone or rounded pebbles that had been pieced together. Mosaic tiles being used to make patterns and pictures became widespread predominantly in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.
The History of Mosaic Tiles In Rome
After the Romans discovered mosaic art, the field of mosaics went through a period of great development as they transformed from an exclusive art into a common decorative medium, however, the skill level and artistry was diluted. When comparing Roman British and Italian mosaics you will see a noticeable difference in terms of detail and design; the Roman British demonstrate a much simpler mosaic with a less accomplished technique.
Byzantine mosaic tiles existed from the 4th to the 15th centuries under the influence of the Byzantine Empire. The history of the Byzantine art is almost entirely concerned with religious expression. Art was used to depict figures such as Christ along with scenes from the Bible. Byzantines specialise in covering walls and ceilings with mosaic tiles, whereas Romans made and used them on floors.
Islamic Mosaic art
The Islamic religion was born in the 7th century AD and brought a whole new meaning to mosaic art in Europe. The Quran forbids images of God to exist and mosaic tile art helped express their faith through intricate geometric and abstract designs of breath-taking beauty. Mosaic art declined in popularity during the Renaissance as frescoes were preferred for walls and ceilings before they became more popular once again during the Enlightenment.
Modern Mosaic art
You’d think that due to its long history, mosaic tile art is obsolete, however, the case is the complete opposite. Mosaic tile art is still in circulation today with it being made by professional artists, street artists and by anyone who has a strong passion for it around the world. The medium has also expanded and now includes glass, ceramic, traditional stone and even shells! Mosaic tile art can commonly be seen on a daily basis in kitchens, bathrooms and church floors. They serve a simple purpose of bringing more colour, style and luxury to a space. The use of mosaic tiles unlocks copious ideas for design.