Gino Severini—Father of Modern Mosaic
I’m making final preparations for the upcoming British Mosaic Forum 2012, to be held at the prestigious V&A Museum in London on October 27th. I am honored to have been invited to present my work to members of the British Association of Modern Mosaic. I will be presenting on the topic of Gino Severini, (1883 – 1966) in collaboration with noted art historian and scholar, Dr. Ilona Jesnick.
Gino Severini – Father of Modern Mosaic
This talk will be presented jointly with Dr. Ilona Jesnick, editor of BAMM’s Journal Andamento, and Lillian Sizemore, a mid-century mosaic historian and artist from California. Ilona Jesnick will present a résumé of Severini’s life and achievements, tracing his profound shift from master of avant garde painting to servant of an ancient craft. Lillian Sizemore will present excerpts from her Italian to English translation of his ground-breaking 1952 lecture “Mosaic and Mural Art in Antiquity and in Modern Times ” which Severini delivered at a conference in Ravenna in 1952, where he made the connection between Byzantine art, Impressionism, Cubism, and the modern mosaicist. His theoretical writings on the art of mosaic helped promote its resurgence in the 20th century.
Ms. Jesnick wrote a very good article about Severini’s life and work for the BAMM journal, Andamento. BAMM has generously made this article available to read online through MosaicArtNOW.
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I completed a translation of the full lecture in 2011, along with footnotes and explanation to put into context the art and philosophical references of the time. My presentation will address Severini’s active engagement with French Catholic philosopher, Jacques Maritain, as they debated the philosophical nature of intellect and intuition within the creative process. I know many mosaicists “feel” this connection to spirit and intuition as they work, but few have identified and written about this ethos as clearly as Severini.
Severini was aligned with a group of artists who were trying to cope and make art in an unstable world, as we are too, again in our modern times. I hope my presentation will stir some thoughts in the audience that may change the way our modern mosaicists work, and to become more aware of the wider context of the art of mosaic.
“…This union of integrity cannot exist when one demands art from one person and craft from another. The origins of this work are in the depths of the soul —where intelligence, sensibility, and imagination converge to shape the intuition, or “poetic knowledge” expanded within the spirit. “
—Gino Severini, from “Mosaic and Mural Art in Antiquity and in Modern Times”, 1952. Translation by Lillian Sizemore
© all rights reserved, 2012