INDIRECT METHOD: This technique was developed in the second half of the nineteenth century thanks to the Friulian mosaicist Giandomenico Facchina, who used this technique for the first time during the realization of the Paris Opera. This method consists of gluing tiles of any material “face-down” on a special paper, using a water-soluble glue. The mosaic, which reveals its back, is applied to the final support. Then the paper is removed from the mosaic, which is cleaned of residual glue. The final result is a completely smooth surface.
DIRECT METHOD: It is the most ancient and intuitive method. Tesserae are placed directly onto the supporting surface, which can be already definitive, or can be just temporary and then applied somewhere else in a second phase. This technique frees the tesserae from the flatness of the containing surface, allowing them to tilt and vibrate.
Styles of composition
The different compositional styles are defined by the “andamento”, that is the movement and flow of Tesserae. The mosaic is characterized since its inception, and as a result, the various styles have their own andamento.
ROMAN MOSAIC: Roman technique is based on the re-use of the ancient Greek and Roman floor mosaic styles, characterized by the use of square tiles laid directly on a mortar bed. Nowadays it is possible to use both processing techniques (direct and indirect), but the direct method is much more common. Nevertheless, should circumstances require an extremely smooth surface and the use of very little tesserae, the indirect method is preferred.
BYZANTINE MOSAIC: As well as Roman mosaic, Byzantine technique was inspired by ancient mosaics, which have covered church interiors since the early Christian era and for the whole of the Middle Age. Tessera is no longer square, the shape becomes trapezoidal. The mosaic surface, covering walls and no longer floors, allows the tesserae to vibrate. Nowadays, the Byzantine technique is realized only in the direct method, as it originally was.
FACCHINA: It is a technique devised by Giandomenico Facchina, performed only in the indirect method. The result is a flat surface. The tesserae are regular, the flight is very narrow or very visible, but always constant. This technique is still taught and used to make modern floor and wall mosaics.
MODERN MOSAIC: In tune with the spirit of time and with new expressive trends, more and more connected to what makes sense in mosaic, material, and what gives meaning to the mosaic, texture, the technique evolve, but rules remain. ‘ Movement’ is adapted to the subjects, to the needs and to the objectives; the tesserae are uneven and the flight is very evident, becoming itself tessera.