What do the National Opera in Paris, the Library of Congress in Washington, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem have in common? The answer is that their walls are adorned with works from the world’s most important school of mosaic, which is located in Spilimbergo, a small village in Friuli on the banks of the Tagliamento River.
The school, which this year celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of its creation (it was founded in 22 January 1922) is inspired by a centuries-old tradition – the Friuli workers’ seasonal migration to Venice, the symbol par excellence of the artistic crossroads between East and West. In the Venetian Republic the mosaic tradition was an esteemed fusion of Roman and Byzantine influences. Here the craftsmen of Spilimbergo learned the art of mosaic but also the importance of selecting and gathering their stones in the riverbeds of the Meduna and the Tagliamento. With emigration in the 1800s the mosaic craftsmen of Spilimbergo took their art everywhere, from France to the United States, Canada to Venezuela, Argentina and Australia.
Created in the wake of this notoriety, and conceived to provide training to the young emigrants, the Friuli School of Mosaic is today an international reference point for mosaic art. Every day its students, from 22 different nations, blend study with practical experimentation, enjoying access to the most innovative technologies and collaborating with leading designers. And their work gets displayed all over the world.