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Byzantine mosaics: A conversation with God

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Nina Veres has organised a new way of experiencing Rome: through the mosaics found in the churches and basilicas of the city.

The tour lasts 8.5 hours and can be split into two days. It goes from the Mausoleum of Santa Costanza to the Basilica of St. Agnes outside the walls. It then passes through St. Mary Major, the Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian and the Basilica of Santa Prassede.

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She recommends dedicating some extra time to an image inside the Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian.

“Jesus Christ, he is standing on a beautiful cloud. These clouds are like fire; they are like clouds on a sunset with the intense colour. This is breathtaking, so I liked this mosaic a lot. I was alone.”

Nina worked as a mosaicist in the Church of Santa Sava in Belgrade. Here she experienced the sacredness of mosaics for the first time.

“There was nothing between me and mosaics and God and it was wonderful. I was incredibly happy there in this small silent place with the unique atmosphere and with this ancient gold which was like a divine light.”

While Roman mosaics are displayed on the floor, in Byzantine churches, they are featured on walls or ceilings.

The larger ones are used for ceiling and wall mosaics because they can be seen from farther away. The smaller ones are used for the floor mosaics as they are more detailed when seen up close.

“Byzantine mosaics, they are about a conversation with God mostly because it’s a religious art,” explains Nina.

“The meaning of Byzantine art expresses this relationship because in Byzantine art a lot of gold is used because gold is very important, almost all backgrounds in Byzantine art are made of gold, different shades of gold because it’s a symbol of divine light.”

Nina grew up in a family of artists. Her father was a painter, and she grew up watching him work. She now devotes herself entirely to creating mosaics. Among her exhibitions, she features a collaboration with artist Giulio Menossi.

 

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