After 80 years in a warehouse, a second-century mosaic has found a new home — a display case in the atrium of Klarman Hall.
According to Henry Crans, director of facilities for the College of Arts and Sciences, the mosaic was excavated from northern Antioch, Turkey in 1938. Princeton University led the effort in the excavation and gifted it to Cornell as a “reward” for a professor’s help with the project, said Crans.
The mosaic shipped from Antioch to Cornell’s campus the same year. Once it arrived at Cornell, however, its path to display was derailed for some time.
“It’s been in the original packing crate since 1938,” Crans said. “[There was] no place to put it where it could be shown well and secured.”
The mosaic remained in its original packing materials in a Cornell warehouse for nearly 80 years before the effort to install it on campus began.
According to Crans, the restoration of the mosaic was done by Kasia Maroney, a conservator from Boston Restoration in Trumansburg. Other than Maroney’s work, the project was handled by the University.
“Our Cornell shops did the work of mounting it and creating the opening for it, and one of the Cornell architects, Gary Wilhelm, designed the support system for it,” said Crans.
The mosaic fragment likely decorated a dining room, according to Prof. Annetta Alexandridis, classics and history of art and visual studies, as reported by Cornell University. Made of limestone, it weighs over 800 pounds.
Alexandridis oversaw the project of installation, according to Crans.
The mosaic can be viewed on the ground floor of Klarman Hall, behind a sheet of glass and directly under the large video screen. It is made of an alternating pattern of red, yellow, grey, white, and black stone, and is a permanent addition to the atrium.
Crans was happy to see the completion of the project as well as the opportunity to install some of the artwork waiting in long-term Cornell storage.
“It’s good to get some of this artwork that we have stored away in the warehouse out in display,” he said. “This one has been a particularly long time coming.”