Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Melbourne Mosaics

Now I know Melbourne isn’t Ravenna  - the Italian city absolutely dripping with THE MOST stunning mosaics. My absolute favourite is the intimate Mausoleum Galla Placidia where I've found myself on two occasions having what I call a ‘spontaneous cry’ – always a pretty good indication of something so beautiful that touches me in surprising and unexpected ways. I don’t believe anything could beat it  - when it comes to mosaics.
A ceiling to die for! Mosaics cover the entire mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna - it is 'ravishing'!
But Melbourne has some wonderful mosaic gems dotted around the city. I love public art and it's often found in surprising places. It's a matter of keeping your eyes open! Waiting at the traffic lights I happend to gaze at the entrance of a very, very plain office block/apartment building on the edge of the city but it was the door surrounds that caught my eye! What a difference they made and added a splash of colour to a very grey building (on a very grey day). I wonder how many of the people walking through the doors actually see – or take time to look at them! Let alone the 1000's of commuters that pass by each day.
What a difference a door makes in busy City Road
The eccentric artist of French origin Mirka Mora - can claim at 85+ to be one of our National Living Treasures. I've written about her in a previous post (here) but it's her quirky mosaics lining the walls of the Flinders Street Station that I always stop to enjoy en route along St Kilda Road to the Arts Centre Precinct. They can be a bit hard to find but just look for the ghastly sandwich board adertising in front of it (is there no respect!) It is on St Kilda Road right next to the Yarra River. It’s worth a look! Most people are too busy to even 'see'. Oh and while we are talking of Mirka - she has a current exhibition at the marvellous Heide Gallery (see older post here)
Mirka being Mirka!
A Mirka Koala (painted I hasten to add!)
Just across the Yarra River on the wall of the Arts Centre is the Wirth Bros Circus Mosaic (see earlier post here)
They fly through the air with the greatest of ease

Although it doesn’t appeal to me I am fascinated by the huge Legend of Fire mosaic at the Eastern Hill Fire station in Albert Street, East Melbourne. Harold Freedman (the State artist of Victoria from 1972 – 1923) created it in 1982 (I didn’t even know we had a State artist!) It took more than a year to complete and comprises more than 1 million mosaic glass tiles. It’s truly a masterpiece. I wonder how many of you have driven right past it a million times and not noticed?!
The Legend of Fire - what an appropriate location at the Eastern Hill Fire Station
And then there is the marvellous one on the facade of the Heritage Listed art deco Newspaper House at 247 Collins Street. It was designed by Napier Waller in 1932 and was home to the Herald and Weekly Times. Perhaps the most 'revealing' thing about this is the quotation "I'll put a girdle around the earth". Well that has certainly come true - Rupert (Murdoch) is certainly trying to put a very tight girdle around the news and media worldwide!  
Be careful what you wish for ...
I've mentioned in a recent post the floor of the glorious Block Arcade. Mosaics are lovely to walk on
How many people actually look down or stop and look.....
I’m sure there are many public mosaics that I don’t know about. One that I haven't seen but which is on my 'to do list' is another Napier Waller mosaic in the foyer of 15 William Street in the city. 
The William Street mosaic looks like a mosaic-must (littleaugury.blogspot.com)
Do you have a one that’s a hidden gem?If you're interested there is a marvellous list of 62 to explore on this link

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