Aidan Hart

showcase

Face of Christ, detail.

Face of Christ, detail.

In this mosaic, Christ’s death is likened to Adam’s deep sleep, when God took a rib to fashion Eve.

The Crucifixion, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

The Crucifixion, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

The parish widened its church’s aisles, which created two new walls. This and the following Resurrection mosaics were commissioned to cover these spaces. They were made in sections in our England studio and then installed in the church over four weeks, with minimal disruption to the cycle of services.

St Mary Magdalene and Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

St Mary Magdalene and Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

In this mosaic we try to show not only the women’s grief and compassion for the suffering Christ, but also Mary Magdalene’s for Christ’s mother, the Theotokos.

The Resurrection, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

The Resurrection, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

This Orthodox Resurrection mosaic is also called the Harrowing of Hades or Descent to Hades. It depicts Christ delivering the righteous of Old Testament times, in this case, Adam, Eve, St John the Baptist and King David. The rocks are like the jaws of Hades opening, or like the waves of the Red Sea parting.


Venetian smalti and gold tesserae
Christ in Hades, detail.

Christ in Hades, detail.

Basing it broadly on the famous fresco in Moni Chora, Constantinople, we nevertheless adapted it to suit the particular strengths of mosaic, emphasizing the dynamic lines of the folds.

King David

King David

King and Prophet David, detail. As with other Old Testament prophets, David foretold the coming of the Messiah. In this mosaic, he finally meets Him, face to face.

St John the Baptist, detail.

St John the Baptist, detail.

John was the forerunner of Christ both on earth and in Hades. He had to die before Christ in order to prepare those in Hades for the Lord’s coming.

The Resurrection, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

The Resurrection, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

Resurrection mosaic, south aisle. We make our mosaics to suit the specific space within the church. In this case we tilted the gold tesserae up to 30 degrees to reflect the greatest amount of light from the side window, made of onyx.

Archangel Michael, detail.

Archangel Michael, detail.

The staff represents the archangel’s power and authority, while the orb inscribed with Christ’s name symbolizes his wisdom, for he clearly sees Christ’s providence in the world

Christ Pantocrator

Christ Pantocrator

Produced for St Martin’s Church of Wales in Cardiff, this exterior mosaic sits above the church’s north door. It was commissioned to be mission through beauty to all those passing by, and to those waiting at the busy bus stop opposite. Mosaic is very durable, and an excellent medium for exterior use.

Virgin Mary Enthroned, detail.

Virgin Mary Enthroned, detail.

Good icons and mosaics use a degree of abstraction in order to 'draw out' and express something of the spiritual state of those depicted. The face of the Theotokos in this mosaic, with its wide-open eyes, suggests her contemplative nature.

Virgin Mary Enthroned, detail

Virgin Mary Enthroned, detail

In Orthodox painted icons Mary is usually shown in red and blue, but in their mosaics she is usually depicted in blue only, as the Queen of Heaven and regal Mother of the King of all.

Eye of Pantocrator, detail.

Eye of Pantocrator, detail.

Following Byzantine mosaic tradition, we use the direct method for wall mosaics so we can create a pleasing variation in the angle of the tesserae.

Garment of Christ, detail.

Garment of Christ, detail.

As in icons, Byzantine and Roman mosaics often include gold lines called assist in their garments. This suggests the transfiguration of the whole material world, along with mankind its priest, prophet and king.

Archangel Michael, detail.

Archangel Michael, detail.

The angel’s eyes follow us wherever we stand, for angels are with us to help and guide wherever we are. The flapping headband symbolizes the angels’ quick obedience to the Lord’s commands.

Christ’s hand, the Pantocrator, detail.

Christ’s hand, the Pantocrator, detail.

The Greek term Pantocrator, usually translated as All Powerful, also means to hold all things. In this hand we therefore emphasize the spread and hold of His majestic hand, for the Lover of Mankind is more the creative and caring artist than the overbearing despot.

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, detail.

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, detail.

Good Byzantine icons express what the Orthodox Church Fathers call the bright sadness or life-giving sorrow of the saints. Being also icon painters, the mosaicists in our studio know subtle techniques to express these states.

Eve, detail.

Eve, detail.

Skilfully made mosaics create harmony and rhythm not only through drawing and colour, but most notably through graceful lines of tesserae called andamenta.

The Crucifixion, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

The Crucifixion, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

The Crucifixion mosaic in the north aisle. Icons, be they in mosaic or paint, are liturgical objects. They are venerated. They create an atmosphere conducive to worship and compunction. They can also be missionary, drawing people to Christ’s beauty.

Arm of crucified Christ, detail.

Arm of crucified Christ, detail.

At Aidan Hart Mosaics we utilize the techniques of masterly Byzantine and Roman mosaics. For example, we surround each member with a “halo” of background andamenta. We combine complementary colours of green and red in the flesh. Unlike lower quality mosaics that use a lot of rectangular tesserae, we plan things to avoid this, preferring the grace and rhythm of cubes.


Venetian smalti and gold tesserae
The Resurrection, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

The Resurrection, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

With large mosaics such as this we make the work in sections (fourteen in this case). The joins follow the outlines of figures or objects. In the studio we leave a sufficient area unfinished around the edges so that after the sections have been screwed to the wall in situ, we can fill over the joins to make them entirely invisible.


Venetian smalti and gold tesserae
The Resurrection, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

The Resurrection, St George’s Orthodox Church, Texas

The Greek words O W N are the translation of the Hebrew word Jehovah, and means ‘The One Who Is’, or ‘The Existing One’. Hell took what it thought was merely a man, and found that it had accepted God, and so it was conquered.


Venetian smalti and gold tesserae
Adam, detail

Adam, detail

There are numerous ways to shade in mosaic. Here you can see checker boarding (the inside of the tomb); graduated shades of smalti (the coloured glass cubes); and the use of a cooler colours in the depths (blue in the green folds).

Eve and John the Forerunner, detail.

Eve and John the Forerunner, detail.

In order to create a harmonious colour scheme, we limited our main palette to one third of the colour wheel: deep red, purple and deep blue. This also helped to make Christ’s white garment appear more radiant by contrast.

Christ Pantocrator, Cardiff

Christ Pantocrator, Cardiff

Christ, detail. Orthodox icons seek to unite opposites, to preserve paradox. In this mosaic, based on a famous work in Constantinople, Aidan Hart Mosaics combines contrasting eyebrow shapes to express both the gentleness and the power of Christ.


Venetian smalti and gold tesserae
The Mother of God Enthroned

The Mother of God Enthroned

Commissioned for the apse of a private chapel, this mosaic shows the Mother of God as the throne of God incarnate. We do not make straight copies, but drawing on the rich tradition of mosaic iconography we design each work specifically for the client and its place. We aim to unite richness with subtlety, gravitas with joy.

The Archangel Michael

The Archangel Michael

This work was commissioned for a small private chapel. Because it was to be viewed close up, we made the tesserae particularly small, around 5mm (1/4”) square, and even finer for the flesh areas.

Virgin Mary enthroned, detail.

Virgin Mary enthroned, detail.

In this mosaic Christ’s garments are earth red to indicate His humanity, and gold to represent His divinity. The scroll is His judgement, withheld until the Last Day. Before that Day, by repentance we can change what is written upon on it.

Christ Pantocrator, detail

Christ Pantocrator, detail

In our studio we aim for that perfect imperfection that is a hallmark of great mosaics. Notice how on the one hand great care has been spent cutting and placing tesserae to mesh together the pinks and the flesh, and on the other, how the cutting is not mechanical, but allows a certain variety.

Christ Pantocrator, detail.

Christ Pantocrator, detail.

Sometimes surprisingly strong coloured tesserae are used in mosaic, to be seen at a distance. In this mosaic the reds are juxtaposed with complementary greens for shadows, made of rare semi-translucent smalti.

Archangel Michael, detail.

Archangel Michael, detail.

At our studio we aim for the finest and most appropriate mosaic for each client. In this work we used particularly small tesserae, since the work was to be seen close up in a small private chapel.

Christ Pantocrator

Christ Pantocrator

This dome mosaic was created for a private chapel. Because it was to be seen close up, we used smaller than usual tesserae, around 5mm (1/4”) square. Each artistic medium has its unique characteristics, and at Aidan Hart Mosaics we make the most of the medium’s features. We set the rows of tesserae(called andamenta) to move rhythmically, and angle each one to gain the maximum dance of light.

Blessing right hand, detail.

Blessing right hand, detail.

Christ Pantocrator

Made largely by our colleagues in Ravenna, this mosaic displays a masterful use of colour. Note how the colour of the finger outlines vary, the shades darkening towards the base of the digits.