Cleopatra with Attendants

Cleopatra with Attendants
Collection Number: 
Current Location: 
B2-Room 318
Lower Level/Vault
Object Description
Artist Dates: 
1918 - 2020
Artist Nationality: 
Accession Date: 
Object Type: 
This mosaic table depicts a reclining Cleopatra surrounded by four of her attendants.
43 inches
13 inches
20 inches

Gabriella Polony Mountain's work includes four major themes. The first three themes are clearly recognizable as the Cosmos, Nature, and Figural works with the fourth theme encompassing history, philosophy, and culture. In her life as an artist, Polony Mountain worked with many different medium including mosaics, weavings, sculpture, stained glass, and repousse. A mosaic is a pattern or image made from small irregular shaped pieces of colored stone, glass, or ceramic called tesserae (individual tiles). These tesserae are held in place by plaster or mortor. Mosaics can typically be found on walls and floors. Gabriella Polony Mountain breaks this traditional form by creating a mosaic table.

The mosaic depicted here focuses on a reclining Cleopatra (69BC - 10 August 30BC) surrounded by her four attendants. Cleopatra was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. Polony-Mountain uses white tiles to create Cleopatra's form with yellow tiles to accent her hair. The chaise lounge that Cleopatra reclines upon is composed of small narrow black tiles with triangular grey and white tiles acting as supporting decorative elements. To her left stands one attendant holding a grey and yellow textile. At Cleopatra's feet stand three other attendants, two in profile and one poised directly at the viewer. Polony-Mountain uses peaches and pale yellow tiles to differentiate the elevated status of Cleopatra in comparison to her attendants. The background of the mosaic is comprised of red and orange tiles with a narrow border of black and white tiles to enclose the space.

This mosaic table is a beautiful example of Polony-Mountain's ability to translate form in any type of medium.

Reproduce the Work in Library publications/publicity, including film or videotape: 
Make slides or videotapes for educational use: 
Permit the general public to photograph the work :