Roman Art Mosaic Activities

Written by hannah wahlig
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Roman Art Mosaic Activities
Mosaic art combines small tiles of varying colours into a larger whole image. (mosaic image by Andrey Andreev from

Roman art and architecture include some of the most celebrate artistic works of all time; the statue of Venus, the Column of Trajan and the Pantheon are all iconic pieces of Roman artistic design. Roman mosaic art utilised tesserae, small pieces of clay, stone or glass tiles in various colours, to create a larger image. Recreate the style or images of Roman mosaics with craft activities that can be done at home.

Mosaic Replicas

Create your own Roman art mosaic by selecting favourites from books or online sources. Choose a piece of Roman mosaic art such as the Dove Basin mosaic or the floor mosaic of Rome's Curia Julia to replicate. Younger kids can use small pieces of randomly torn construction paper in various colours to recreate the mosaic using glue and a backing sheet of construction paper. Older children can incorporate other materials including beads or tissue paper.

For a more technically demanding mosaic replica, choose clay, glass or ceramic tiles; you can purchase the tiles coloured or paint them after purchasing. Choose a backing material such as a mirror or ceramic plate. Begin in the middle of the backing and begin laying the tesserae to replicate the image. Secure the tesserae with a tile adhesive; fill in the spaces with grout and wipe away the excess after it dries. Mosaics can be placed on stones or flower pots to serve as decorative garden or household items.

Mosaic Portraits

Mosaic portraits were a popular form of Roman art. Typically, they were done in profile on plates or decorative frames. To create your own mosaic portrait, tape a sheet of black construction paper onto a wall. Set up an adjustable light or flashlight and have a model sit, with head turned to one side, between the light and the paper. Trace the profile with chalk. To create the mosaic, apply small pieces of construction paper, tissue paper or small beads to the image; fill in the background with mosaic pieces in a different colour. If you want to use a heavier material such as tile or large beads, glue the construction paper to a piece of framed canvas for added support.

Mosaics in Home Design

Mosaics can serve decorative and functional purposes. Roman mosaic art was frequently incorporated into building design and construction; geometric patterns or domestic scenes were added to the floors and walls of churches and public buildings to add colour and visual interest. Nowadays, you can incorporate Roman mosaics into countertops, backsplashes or outdoor patios. Replicate a Roman design by enlarging an image of an original Roman mosaic to fit the scale of your project. Sketch the design in pencil before purchasing and laying out your tesserae. Alternatively, create an original design by incorporating various elements of Roman mosaic art into a single pieces; for example, a domestic scene depicting a farming family may be well-suited for a large patio floor, while small Roman icons such as crosses or columns can be used as a mosaic pattern for a backsplash or countertop.

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