Some years ago, I went to Ravenna, Italy, for a workshop in Byzantine mosaics. On the agenda was a tour of the basilicas, mausoleums and chapels - all sunlit by magnificent gold mosaics.
Fast forward to now where I am experimenting with painting clay tiles. For my first piece,
I've drawn on the Ravenna experience to surround the figure with gold color. This made me think of the use of gold in art and its meaning.
Ancients applied gold to statues and buildings to signify the wealth and power of empire. Later, as organized religions gained influence, gold was used to indicate saintliness and inspire awe. What does it signify today?
Today most public or empirical art do not include the use of real gold or even gold paint. Modern day churches are far more austere than before. So, I ask again: what does it signify when you looks at a painting with gold? (Gustav Klimt, left; Michelangelo Russo, right )