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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Arles Archaeological Museum

The modern Musée de l'Arles Antique  is located about 20 minutes walking away from downtown Arles . The museum was built on the site of the enormous Roman circus where horse races and bullfights were organized (The Gladiators were fighting in the Amphitheater).It presents models of ancient monuments, objects from daily life from the prehistoric period to the 6th century AD, with a great emphasis on the Roman Era.

Among the displays are one of the world's most famous collections of 4th-century Roman Christian sarcophagi as well as sculptures, mosaics, jewelry and inscriptions.

Medusa was celebrated for her personal charms and the beauty of her locks. Neptune fell in love with her, and obtained her favors in the temple of Minerva. This violation of the sanctity of the temple really pissed Minerva, and she changed the beautiful locks of Medusa, which had inspired Neptune’s love to serpents... Don't mess with Minerva.

I visited the Museum last November to see the expo about the archaeological underwater investigation of the Right Bank of the Rhone River, which produced the most beautiful torso of Julius Casear ever excavated.

Among the Mosaics displayed there were beautiful pieces : 

Zeus and Europa
Europa was the beautiful daughter of the Phoenician king of Tyre, Agenor. Zeus, the King of the gods according to Greek mythology, fell in love with her. (He had a tendency to do that...)

Overwhelmed by love for Europa, Zeus transformed himself into the form of a magnificent white bull and appeared in the sea shore where Europa was playing with her maidens. The great bull walked gently over to where Europa stood and knelt at her feet. The appearance and movements of the bull were so gentle that Europa spread flowers about his neck and dared to climb upon his back overcoming her natural fear of the great animal.

But suddenly, the bull rushed over the sea abducting Europa. Only then the bull revealed its true identity and took Europa to the Mediterranean island of Crete. There, Zeus cast off the shape of the white bull, and back into his human form, made love to Europa beneath a cypress tree. Europa became the first queen of Crete and had by Zeus three sons: King Minos of Crete, King Rhadamanthus of the Cyclades Islands, and, according to some legends, Prince Sarpedon of Lycia. She later married the king of Crete, who adopted her sons.
Orpheus Mosaic

The Greeks of the Classical age venerated Orpheus as chief among poets and musicians, and the perfecter of the lyre invented by Hermes. Poets pretended that, with his music and singing, he could charm birds, fish and wild beasts, coax the trees and rocks into dance, and even divert the course of rivers. He was one of the handful of Greek Heroes to visit the Underworld and return.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Mexican Kitchen

The Mexican Kitchen of the Japanese House... This is the Dojo I built behind my house. It also includes an Italian Bathroom (see previous post)

I have used a great number of exotic and rich materials : Italian Green slates and red ceramic for the floors, Mexican multicolored azulejos and various stone and glass tiles for the walls, Black and Gold Granites for the counter tops.

The walls are venetian plasters.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Italian Bathroom

I am close to completing my Japanese house. It will be used mostly as a dojo to study and practice martial arts and zen. To the main practice hall, I added a small kitchen and bathroom. The Kitchen is in a Mexican style, and the Bathroom in the Italian one. 

This is the entrance to the shower. The walls to the bathroom itself are venetian plaster. The shower is a mosaic of travertine, granite and glass. 

I wanted to give the idea of water running on the walls. In order to show that, I have used some wide travertine tiles lid in a diamond pattern, interrupted by lines of small stones giving that running impression. The contrast between the wide flat travertine tiles and the small mosaic stones is very interesting.

The top and bottom of the shower are exclusively mosaic (no big tiles) laid to show meanders in the water running toward the drain. 

The whole enterprise was very time consuming, but it was well worth my time and effort!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rising Sun

In early Japanese history, the Rising Sun, or Hinomaru motif was used on flags of daimyos and samurai 

Rising Sun is my last Mosaic Creation.

This Mosaic designed in an Art Deco Style, is almost entirely made out of mirror pieces. I only used black granite and ceramic for the outside borders.

Mirrors are a little different than regular stone or ceramic tesserae. Although the process of laying the tesserae is the same ( I always use the the inverted method, and lay my pieces upside down), the following operations - gluing, grouting, are made more complicated because of the material used to make the mirror. To make a long story short, mirrors do not adhere to thinset as well as stone... So you have to use your imagination - and experience - to make sure it is going to stick well ! 

Rising Sun has taken a long time to complete, as I am actually also working on 2 beautiful walk-in showers, one made of ceramic, glass and marble, the other one, in a similar style, made of Travertine, Dark brown Marble, Granite and Colored Glasses. 

I should soon be able to post pictures and comments about these 2 beautiful pieces

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mosaic Portraits

The Sicis Company, based of in Ravenna, Italy, proposes Mosaic portraits. You provide your picture and they realize a portrait from the picture.

These portraits are realized in Black and White and are very realistic.

Frederic Lecut has also realized several portraits displayed at, among them : ChiaraJulie, and the beautiful French Actress Emmanuelle Beart. and is available to realize portraits of your loved ones.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Alexander Mosaic

Found during the 1831 excavations in the lava-buried town of Pompeii, the Alexander mosaic (now on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples) is the most famous example of an early tessellated mosaic. 

Measuring 19 feet by 10 feet, the piece was made around 100 B.C. out of roughly 4 million tesserae (small mosaic tiles).

The artwork once decorated the floor of a room in the House of the Faun, one of Pompeii's grandest residences.

Read more at Discovery News

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Birth of Venus - Mosaic by Frederic Lecut (

Marbles and Granites - 20 x 24” (51 x 61 cm)

Artist Sandro Botticelli's painting the Birth of Venus is one of the most recognizable images in the history of art. The work demonstrates Botticelli's mastery of sinuous line and supple form. In this image, Venus, the Classical goddess of love and beauty, is brought vividly to life.
The Birth of Venus represents the moment when the goddess was born. According to Classical mythology, Venus emerged, fully grown, from the sea. 

The Goddess stands in the center of the painting, modestly covering her nude body with elegant hands and masses of golden hair. A gentle breeze, which is personified as a wind god, lifts her hair of Venus.

Precolumbian Mosaics - Masks and Skulls

The art of mosaic in pre-Columbian Central America was marked by a combination of great technical skill and widespread use. Mexican lapidaries worked with obsidian, garnet, quartz, beryl, malachite, jadeite, marcasite, gold, mother-of-pearl, and bone.

The Skull of the Smoking Mirror, British Museum. Aztec/Mixtec, 15th-16th century AD

This mask is believed to represent the god Tezcatlipoca, one of the Aztec creator gods. He was also the god of rulers, warriors and sorcerers. His name can be translated as 'Smoking Mirror'. In fact, in many depictions during the Postclassic period (A.D. 900/1000-1521) his foot is replaced by a mirror.
The base for this mask is a human skull. Alternate bands of turquoise and lignite mosaic work cover the front of the skull. The eyes are made of two discs of iron pyrites set in rings made of shell. The back of the skull has been cut away and lined with leather. The jaw is movable and hinged on the leather.

Mosaic mask of Quetzalcoatl - The Feathered Serpent
Aztec/Mixtec, 15th-16th century AD - From Mexico
This mask is believed to represent Quetzalcoatl or the Rain God Tlaloc, both associated with serpents. It is made of cedar wood and covered with turquoise mosaic work. The teeth are made of shell. Two serpents, one in green turquoise and one in blue, twist across the face and around the eyes, blending over the nose. Turquoise mosaic feathers hang on both sides of the eye sockets.
The Spanish friar Bernardino de Sahagún, writing in the sixteenth century, describes a mask like this one. It was a gift of the Aztec emperor Motecuhzoma II to the Spanish captain Hernán Cortés (1485-1547). The Aztec ruler thought that Cortés was the god Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent) returning from the East. This mask was part of the adornments associated with this god. According to Sahagún's description it was worn with a crown of beautiful long greenish-blue iridescent feathers, probably those of the quetzal (a bird that lives in the tropical rain forest).
Though the Rain God Tlaloc was also sometimes represented with serpents twisting around his eyes, the feathers are more consistent with the image of Quetzalcoatl.

Jade encrusted skull from Oaxaca, Mexico. 
This skull was formerly at the convent of the Iglesias Santo Domingo.

Mosaic Skull and Jaw, Aztec Civilization, Bone, stone mosaic, and teeth.
This human skull is covered with small pieces of cut stone and shell arranged in a deliberate manner over the surface of the skull. Notice how they are arranged in concentric circles around the eyes - even pieces of white shell or stone are used for the eyes and have been drilled to indicate the pupils. This skull was possibly used for ritual purposes.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Mosaic Artists of Michigan was created in 2003 to share, educate and promote the resurgence of fine art mosaics. More than 30 artists will be showcased in this exhibit. The style of each member's work is unique, as the art of mosaic presents a world of endless possibilities in color, texture, shape and expression.

The BBAC, providing “art for all” since 1957, is a regional non-profit art center committed to promoting the visual arts with classes for all skill levels. Each year more than 500 classes are offered for over 4,000 students.