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Home > Auctions > 22nd February 2022 > Byzantine Cosmatesque Mosaic Panel

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LOT 0146

Estimate
GBP (£) 4,000 - 6,000
EUR (€) 4,800 - 7,200
USD ($) 5,450 - 8,170

Opening Bid
£3,600 (EUR 4,321; USD 4,901) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Byzantine Cosmatesque Mosaic Panel

11th-13th century AD

A rectangular marble floor panel recalling similar workmanship to the floor of the Sistine Chapel, comprising a large central panel composed of a chequerboard design of alternating floral motifs and plain porphyry squares, surrounded by four roundels of green, porphyry and blue, each with a bicolour border; each corner with an L-shaped panel with eight-petalled flowers on a geometric background. 30.5 kg, 79cm (31"). Fine condition, one corner absent.

Provenance
English art market in the 1990s.
Dean private collection.
Property of a London gentleman.
Accompanied by an archaeological expertise by Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.11068-183010.

Literature
See Boito, C., Architettura Cosmatesca, Torino, 1860; Hutton, E., The Cosmati, The Roman Marble Workers of the XIIth and XIIIth Centuries, London, 1950; Tosca, P., Storia dell’Arte Italiana, il medioevo, vol. III, Torino, 1965; Matthiae, G., 'Componenti del gusto decorativo cosmatesco,' in Rivista dell'Istituto Nazionale di Archeologia e Storia dell'Arte, vol. I, 1952, pp.249-281; Cigola, M., 'Mosaici pavimentali cosmateschi. Segni, disegni e simboli,' in Palladio, Nuova serie, anno VI n. 11, giugno 1993, pp.101-110; the composition of the mosaic recalls the floors of the most important churches of Rome, like the floor of the Sistine Chapel (realised probably in the 14th century for the previous building or Cappella Maggiore), or that of Santa Maria Maggiore (1145-1153 AD), San Giovanni in Laterano (14th century AD), Saint Clement (1099-1120 AD), Santi Quattro Coronati (13th century AD), Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (12th century AD) and many others.

Footnotes
The Cosmatesque style was a characteristic type of ornamentation of Eastern Roman origin (opus alexandrinum) used by the Roman marble makers of the 12th and 13th centuries AD. It embellishes floors, ciboriums and cloisters of churches by means of polychrome marble inlays of varied and imaginative geometric shapes. The wider use of this decoration began in the 12th century, at which time techniques were improved: the Cosmati floors were made with pieces of stone cut in various shapes and sizes, a property quite different from the mosaics in opus tessellatum, in which the motifs were made from small units all having the same size and shape, or from the opus sectile, intended to create representations with pieces of multicoloured marble cut out and arranged for this purpose. The stones used by Cosmati artists were often material salvaged from the ruins of ancient Roman buildings.