Homage to Sergio Altieri’s “La Casa sulla Collina”

Freshly framed, I finally handed it in this week: My contribution for Musiva, a school internal competition of Itineraria, the Tourism Office of the FriuliVeneziaGiulia region here in Northeastern Italy. Each year, the competition is dedicated to a local artist. Participation is voluntary and we have a free hand in selection of material, technique, and whether we want to copy the original work or just be inspired by it. All works will be exhibited at a local restaurant in Spilimbergo. The audience, that is, all visitors to the exhibition, may vote their favorite mosaic of every participating school year.

This year Sergio Altieri‘s work was featured. Among his artworks, many landscapes of the region are subject. One of the motifs is the house on the hill, “La casa sulla collina”. It is illuminated by the moonlight, and a couple is embracing each other tightly.

At the end it is due to Emilie‘s little push that I dared to work on it using a technique that was completely new to me. (I improvised a contemporary direct method.) And after some initial fears of beginning the work, I realized how great it is to just try out. Without a teacher looking on my fingers, without weighing material. With free choice in Emilie’s material stock (thank you very much for that, my dear!). No squared tesserae any more, but freestyle. With some important rules in mind clearly, but yet so different from anything I have learned and made ​​up to this point.

This experiment has really given me some drive. All fears that colors could not fit, that the way of laying could not suite to the scene, they just flew away once I had jumped into the project. After months of Roman motifs and scholar thinking I could return to trust my own instincts. And the subject of Altieri was a perfect playground: I could gradually mix the colors of the grass in front of the house. La casa, the house itself, was a bit more difficult because there I had to plan color and material compositions more in advance.

Cold and warm shades of yellow, poisonous green and warm light: There were some challenges in the motif and I can say that I have often struggled with what colors and what material to use. And by focussing on shapes and colors, I sometimes lost the attention on contrast of light and dark. But the beautiful thing is that many different ways of combining colors and materials can lead to a great results. And that there is no wrong or right in this compilation. At the end it is the result that counts. Each mosaicist would probably interpret the work of Altieri in another way. And the way I did it you see above in the gallery.

I could now list what I do not like about the mosaic and what I would like to modify. But for the moment, I am just happy with the result and to have jumped into this project. Because outside the school you learn different things. To work completely self responsible, for example, and plan a project from the beginning to its end, including substrate and hanging.

Next time – I’ve already decided for myself – I won’t make a copy of a painting, but pick out a detail.
For now I’m looking forward to the exhibition opening. Once the works are on display here in Spilimbergo, I’ll get back to you so that you can pass by to vote. And of course I’m happy if it ends up under those for my work. But psst, I did not say anything.

Substrate: Wedi / plywood
Material: smalts, marble, brick
Size: 60 x 40 cm

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  • Well done . I love all the tiny grassed area but having trouble seeing the head of the figure on the left…seems to get lost in the building color…could just be the photo. But if the Smalti around his head were a different tone than his hair it would be more readable.
    I also like the 3D areas. Well done and good luck.

    • Thank you for your feedback, Jacqui! Yes in fact the zone around the head is exactly the one I would have liked to change afterwards. It is what happens when you get dark in the color scale instead of putting a different color. I guess that is what you learn from doing different projects. And I will keep that in mind in my next one :-) Best wishes, Miriam

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