Portrait of Pope Clement VIII (Ippolito Aldobrandini)
What would a picture look like if you made it out of stones? How many colors would the stones provide for your work of art?

This portrait, created in Italy more than 400 years ago, is a mosaic. It is a picture made of different types of rocks, minerals, and gemstones. The designer did not want to use paint on the artwork, so he had to come up with different ways to put the stones together to get all the necessary colors.

The designer also had to look at the various shapes of the rocks and decide how to fit them together to make a realistic looking person. If you look closely, you'll see that many different types and shapes of rock were used.

The makers of this portrait worked on it for about two years. One man created the design. Then others cut the stones and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle. The artists had to be very precise when cutting the stones so that the pieces would all fit together perfectly.

They first used special handsaws. Then, to get the shapes exactly right, they filed them down. Some of the materials used include red and green marble, blue lapis lazuli, and silver-gray mother of pearl. Even the black background is made of rocks—you may recognize it because many schools once used a similar type of stone for blackboards.

More Colorful Art Scoops!

Color in Renaissance Painting Stained Glass: Puzzles of Color and Light Sun Prints: Cameraless Photographs A Book of Hours
A Picture Made from Stones