Wednesday, December 8, 2010


In a very minor way, tonight I took a few small footsteps in the journeys of the great Cosmati. Who were the Cosmati, you might ask? If you answered 'the secret society in the film Tomb Raider', that is not correct, however you get extra credit for making me think of Angelina Jolie in shorts with pistols.

The Cosmati were families of artistic stone workers sharing the name 'Cosma' around 1000 years ago. Several generations of people in the family made very mathematically complex mosaics. Many of their works are geometric styled with triangles, circles, parallel-o-grams, and yes, even rhombuses.
Some typical examples of their work...

Not only known for just architectural mosaics that had the effect of showing you what you see when you rub your eyes way too hard, but they were also well known sculptors and art dealers.

The wealthy and powerful revered their work in the early and even late middle ages. Well heck, even now if I count myself, right? For example, Pope Iulius II had his logo done in their style (he was the 'warrior' pope who layed the first brick of the brand spanking new 'St. Peter's Cathederal' in Rome around 1500).

All manner of medieval palaces used their flooring, for example Ca d'Oro in Venice, not to be much outdone by St. Marks cathedral, had a nice Cosmati styled floor put in on their canal entrance.

An art mosaic project I'm working on requires traditional stones that the Cosmati used once upon a time. I have had some tiny pieces of green serpentine left over, so I've made some of these into triangles like those typically used in the pavements of the Cosmati. I was thinking of making a replica Ca d'Oro floor, but for now, I will just use these triangles for making some 'Cosmati' cufflinks.

That's the kind of thing Bored Neoclassical Guy would do, right?


  1. That was Angelina's best look! And the mosaics are good too ;-)

  2. Hahaha. I think those were the Illuminati.

  3. Those are really, really beautiful. I mean, I'd love to get my hands on some of those.

    Oh, we're not talking about Angelina's "pistols" still? *ahem* *loosens collar*

    The serpentine cufflinks look great, too.

    And "Pont Max" means "Pontifex Maximus", which is Latin for "Pope". The funny thing about the name Julius is that is might have been a reference to the priests of Juno. :D

  4. When are you not thinking about Angelina Jolie in shorts and pistols?

  5. I am looking forward to your next project!!!!!!!

  6. I really like those cufflinks - how do you attach the backing, or whatever it is called?

  7. WendyB,
    Yes, that look is right behind the knife fighting look of Rachel Weisz and Patricia Velasquez in the 'Mummy Returns'.

    Fickle Cattle,
    Oh, right, that's what I was thinking of. Haha

    I didn't know about the Juno / Julius connection, very interesting.
    So are Angelina's weapons...

    When watching the knife fight in 'The Mummy Returns'...

    Me too!!! :)

    Thanks, the stone is authentic from a quarry around where they mined for the Roman empire thousands of years ago.

    I'll attach the backing by paying a jeweler to do it... I don't have the essential precious metallurgy skills yet to be comfortable doing my own setting work.

  8. Whoa! From the size of those stones, a floor would be a major project. Good luck with that!

  9. love the image..

    Happy holidays.

  10. this is a great post! i gave you one of my weekly awards which you can collect anytime, if you like!

    happy blogging and tiling!

  11. HooRayGun, brudda! Glad to see you're on board, eff'n the NWO and uplift'n the Great Unwashed. We'll beat'm yet... withe alien armada. HeeHee. God bless. Kick-some-ass. That's an order.

  12. I love how you mentioned "yes, even rhombuses", because anytime you mention geometrical shapes, some idiot has to usually chime in with a rhombus and it's annoying.

    Pretty awesome links Eric.

  13. Eva,
    Yes, those projects would take forever. Luckily my new Cosmati project is going to be less than 1 m^2.

    Thanks! And thanks for stopping by, I owe Everyday Goddess for the mentions.

    Everyday Goddess,
    Thanks, you are a creative princess among bloggers for promoting other posts.


    Mr. Condescending,
    I get to pick up the finished product from the jeweler on Monday. Hopefully, they'll be exactly as specified.