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Mosaics were used extensively from the earliest civilizations until the thirteenth century; they have again become popular forms of decoration in recent years. The technique for mosaic is quite simple, and yet, it is one of the most time-consuming forms of art. Once a composition has been drawn onto a wall or the surface onto that the mosaic will be completed, a small area is covered with cement. Bits of glass or tile or marble are then stuck onto the cement to create the pattern desired.

In earlier times, a mosaic was carefully made with unevenly sized pieces of marble and so forth; a mosaic done in this fashion could capture and reflect light much more beautifully than a mosaic that was completed with every piece being equal in size or depth. The early Christian and Byzantine churches often commissioned complicated mosaics for decoration, and many of these can still be seen in Rome, Venice, Sicily and Greece. After the revival of the thirteenth century occurred in Rome, the stage was set for the Realism movement in painting.

Mosaics were done as late as the fifteenth century by artists such as Uccello, who designed and completed a mosaic for St. Mark's Cathedral in Rome.

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