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Ancient Unexpected Inspiration

Ancient Unexpected Inspiration

Old 04-17-2020, 08:40 AM
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I have been meaning to share these photos for a while, but it is only now that I finally have time for it. Last year in November I travelled to Rome. Among a thousand wonders I found something that strongly reminded me of quilts... That was the mosaics on the floor of ancient churches.

The first set of photos comes from Basilica Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, which is situated very close to Forum Romanum, which was the very center of Rome in ancient times. The basilica itself was built in the 6th century. I am filled with awe and respect when I think how difficult it must have been to piece all those elements - I cannot achieve with cotton what they did with marble. And that it is still there more or less in one piece after centuries of being tramped upon.

The fifth photo was taken at Capitolini Museums. The information where the mosaic comes originally from is there, but I cannot remember (of course, it was somewhere in Rome).

My hand that you can see in the photos is there for the scale, ot because I am so clumsy I don't know how to get it out of the picture Photos of floor tiles were taken directly above them - those tiles are small.
Attached Thumbnails ara-coeli-1.jpg   ara-coeli-2.jpg   ara-coeli-3.jpg   ara-coeli-4.jpg   musei-capitolini.jpg  

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Old 04-17-2020, 08:45 AM
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Great pictures! I think it was Ami Sims? that did a whole book on Roman mosaics. The micro mosaics at the Vatican are splendid, wish I could see them in person.
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Old 04-17-2020, 08:50 AM
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And here is more photos. These come from Santa Maria in Trastevere (lit. "on the other side of the Tevere river"). That quarter used to be kind of inner city in the ancient times, as opposed to the quarters nearer the center, with their palaces, temples and entertainment facilities (the Colosseum etc.). But it was the quarter where Christianity gained most popularity when it spread to Rome. It was not until the later Middle Ages, though, that a decent church, comparable to what is on the richer side of the river, was built. The mosaics there are therefore in better state - they are a few centuries younger and the basilica was not frequented by pilgrims from all over the world as ardently as those in Vatican or around the Colosseum.

To this day the Trastevere area retains some of the town folk atmosphere and the Santa Maria basilica seems more like a local parish church than a tourist attraction. The quarter is more affordable regarding food and accomodation, and I am definitely going to stay there next time I go to Rome.This was my third time in Rome and it was lucky, but it is certainly not going to be the last one.
Attached Thumbnails trastevere-1.jpg   trastevere-2.jpg   trastevere-3.jpg   trastevere-4.jpg   trastevere-5.jpg  

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Old 04-17-2020, 11:59 AM
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Lovely, they look like they would be pretty in batiks!
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Old 04-17-2020, 02:21 PM
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Thank you for a trip down memory lane. In 2014 we spent 10 days in Italy, revisiting some old haunts and exploring places we had missed in previous trips. We toured the Basilica in Siena and it is magnificent. While most people were looking at the walls and ceilings, my camera was pointed at the floors. I have always wanted to make a medallion quilt inspired by those magnificent floors!
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Old 04-17-2020, 02:23 PM
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Meant to add--check out the book "Bella Bella" by Nora McMeeking. It is amazing!
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Old 04-17-2020, 02:27 PM
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Awesome pictures! That's a trip I'd love to do some day. I only started quilting recently, and it amazes me how I see quilt patterns in so many images...
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Old 04-17-2020, 03:28 PM
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amazing, thanks for sharing
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Old 04-17-2020, 04:03 PM
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All of the tile pictures would make gorgeous quilts.
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Old 04-17-2020, 04:17 PM
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Beautiful pictures....inspiration galore!
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