The Anglo-Catholic Revival's Contribution to the Resurgence of the Venetian Enamel Mosaic Industry
Kovach, Rita S.
The art of mosaic decoration has existed for millennia. The earliest examples are floors made of pebbles from the eighth century BC that were found in Asia Minor. The Greeks were the first to produce enamel mosaic two thousand years ago, and the process travelled around the Mediterranean before eventually spreading to the adjacent continents. Byzantine craftsmen created an innovative style with their extensive use of rich metallic colors, and they had a great influence on the emergence of Venice in the thirteenth century as a leading, global force in enamel mosaic manufacture for hundreds of years. The deregulation of the industry and the lack of skilled masters contributed to the drastic decline of Venetian enamel mosaic workshops by the early 1800s; however, within a century, the industry was booming again, with new architectural mosaics being installed all over Europe and North America.By examining the religious, social, and cultural environment in Great Britain during the late nineteenth century, as well as by conducting a case study of Salviati enamel mosaics, this thesis will postulate that the Anglo–Catholic revival had a direct effect on the renewed popularity of Venetian mosaic architectural decoration. It will conclude that the increased interest in Catholic ritualism that was fueled by the Oxford Movement and advocated by ecclesiologists led to the revival of the Gothic style of architecture, which in turn helped boost a demand for traditional church decoration.
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