Elisabetta Neri, Tessellata vitrea tardoantichi e altomedievali: Produzione dei materiali e loro messa in opera, Turnhout, 2016.
Éditeur : Brepols
Collection : Bibliothèque de l'Antiquité Tardive 32
ISBN : 978-2-503-56791-4
The production of mosaic glass and the laying technique of wall mosaic tesserae in Late Antique and Early Medieval times is the subject of this book, focusing in particular on the case of Milan.
The first part examines the production process of glass mosaics, in order to reconstruct the commercial and cultural exchanges of the period being studied. Different tools (ethnoarchaeology, technical recipes, archaeometric analyses, archaeological remains, economic sources, quantitative estimates, restoration reports) are used to track the indica-tors of a workshop producing coloured and gold-leaf mosaic glass-cake, to identify the markers of mosaic glass history and technology, and to detect the material outcome of the actions performed by the mosaicist.
The second part investigates the specific issues of the case of Milan, for which a contradictory literature exists, in terms of chronology and cultural framework of the mosaic art. In particular, it reviews the hypotheses relating to a specific glass production workshop and a school of mosaicists.
The archaeological remains, literary sources, iconographic evidence, and archaeometric analyses, despite their difficult interpretation, allow the identification of three stages of diffusion of the mosaic art in Milan: the late Imperial age, the age of the Goths, and the final centuries of the Early Middle Ages. Four significant cases are analysed: the Imperial mausoleum of St. Victor ad Corpus (4th century), the Basilica of St. Lawrence (early 5th century), the baptistery of St. John ad Fontes (end 5th-6th century) and the Basilica of St. Ambrose (5th-6th and 10th centuries).
This research contributes to several open questions: the technology of glass and gold in a period of technological transition, the mural decoration of Milanese buildings, the choices made by the customers who financed the buildings, the investment required, the social and commercial relations established in order to carry out the works.