The story of Otranto – The Mosaic Floor

The mosaic floor, done by the San Nicola Abbey monk Panteleone in 1063-66, holds much esoteric knowledge. Because many people could not read during this time, education was done through images. For those with the ability and interest to learn and understand, this information was freely given. For those who needed or could grasp only the simplest concepts, these were offered for them as well, without judgement.

Around the same time in other parts of the world, items such as The Bayeux Tapestry and the Unicorn Tapestry were being fabricated. Art was the tool of the few to educate the many.

Otranto the Mosaic Floor done by Panteleone from the San Nicola Abbey

Education also included pictorials on other cultures and animals.

The mosaic floor tells many stories
The mosaic floor tells many stories

Biblical stories such as King Solomon and the Tower of Babel to fantastic stories like King Arthur. Astrology was accepted as a higher education, indicated where it is placed on the floor. It appears that the images were set down by levels of understanding. The simpler, near the front of the church, gaining in increased symbology and complexity as one nears the altar.

The mosaic floor tells many stories

The mosaic floor tells many stories
The mosaic floor tells many stories

After visiting each of these places, there was a visible impact on the work produced. What does it all mean? I am not sure yet. It will come. What I do know is that the reference to the female is not obviously done. While the male presence is obvious, the female seems to be referenced and revered and is suggested through the senses.

Untitled Charcoal Graphite and Pastel Drawing Painting
Untitled Charcoal Graphite and Pastel Drawing Painting