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Cosmati work

The term Cosmati derives from the name Cosmatus, the name of one of the main families responsible for this type of decoration who were active in Italy throughout the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Anagni Cathedral, Rome

Cosmati work is a type of mosaic technique that was practised by Roman decorators and architects in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, in which small geometric shapes of colourful, often figured stones and coloured glass were arranged in patterns and combined with larger stone shapes to produce decorated tombs, furniture and pavements in churches throughout Italy.

Cosmati work makes extensive use of both purple and green porphyry and white marble. Strictly speaking, Cosmati work it is not mosaic but rather opus sectile, literally meaning ‘cut work’.