Orsoni Venice 1888, a partner of Fondaco Italia, is involved in the creation of nativity scenes at the Vatican. Glass enamel mosaics with gold leaf are used to craft the sacred work, which will be unveiled on December 9.

Rome, December 4, 2023 – Orsoni Venice 1888 is taking part in the creation of Vatican nativity scenes in Rome, at St. Peter’s Square and in the Paul VI Hall Nervi Room, alongside Fondaco Italia, the creator and curator of the nativity project at the Holy See—the first to involve private companies. The only active furnace in Venice, using techniques dating back to 1888 to produce mosaics with 24-carat gold leaf, colored gold, and enamels in more than 3,500 colors, from imperial reds to Madonna blues, and a palette featuring over 120 different tones for skin colors, has created the tesserae for the nativity scene in the Nervi Room – currently being set up – to be unveiled on December 9: 4.5 square meters of enamels, including 5% made up of tesserae with 24-carat gold leaf.

“The mosaic tradition,” explains Riccardo Bisazza, president of Orsoni Venice 1888, “is one of the elements of Christian places of worship, playing a crucial role in sacred art, conveying faith through visual beauty and contributing to the creation of sacred places that inspire devotion and contemplation. For centuries, mosaics have depicted the life of Jesus and the Saints in images: those of the Nativity are among the most widespread in the world. Rome is an extraordinary example of this tradition, as seen in the 14th-century mosaic nativity of Pietro Cavallini at Santa Maria in Trastevere, the Nativity mosaic inspired by Arnolfo di Cambio at Santa Maria Maggiore, and the one in the Vatican Necropolis portraying Jesus as Sol Invictus, perhaps the first icon linking his birth to December 25.”

“We are pleased to return to Rome,” continues the president of the Venetian furnace, “where we have already collaborated on a significant restoration of St. Peter’s Basilica. We are also excited to reunite with the Holy Father, who inaugurated the new People’s Salvation Cathedral in Bucharest in 2018, where we are committed to producing mosaic tesserae used by a team of 70 mosaicists to decorate the interior of the world’s largest Orthodox cathedral. The nativity scene of St. Francis in the Nervi Room, created by the skilled hands of Master Mosaicist Alessandro Serena, will accompany the upcoming festivities and be seen worldwide during broadcasts from the Vatican. We are proud to have contributed to Fondaco Italia’s project with Venetian mosaics that showcase a unique Made in Italy excellence in the world.”

The mosaic created for the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican is a clear demonstration of how the mosaic technique transcends the passage of time. Thanks to the brilliance of the vitreous tesserae and the extensive range of colors produced by the Orsoni furnace, it brings to life the volume of faces and the chiaroscuro of drapery, making this small sacred work of art vibrant and lively. To create the nativity scene, mosaic tesserae in enamel (glass is colored with mineral oxides in paste form) and 24-carat gold leaf were used, two productions that the historic furnace has been carrying out for over a century following the ancient Byzantine technique.

Press Release:
Il Sole 24 Ore
La Nuova Venezia

Corriere del Veneto
La discussione
Il Gazzettino di Venezia
Italia Oggi
Rieti Life
Format Rieti

Orsoni Mosaic Masterclass

The mosaic school is currently undergoing restoration. We anticipate the reopening in 2025. Once the program for the International Mosaic Masterclasses is available, it will be published on the website. 

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