The mosaic Mercury from Plovdiv International Fair

Artists: Hristo Stefanov and Valentin Starchev

Date: 1987

The mosaic is placed on the façade of the Plovdiv International Fair’s central building. It is positioned on the corner where the southern and western facades meet and takes up equal space on both sides of that corner. It is an interpretation of the ancient Roman god Mercury, patron of tradesmen and travelers. The god’s trademark winged hat is clearly on display above his long curling locks, which fall down his shoulders. Geometric shapes depicting landscapes from Plovdiv intertwine below the face and create the illusion that the messenger of the gods is physically present.

The mosaic is three-dimensional, with parts of Mercury’s face – including his hat – made in relief; the eyebrows, nose, lips, cheekbones, chin-line, and ears are made from roughly worked limestone blocks that stand out from the rest of the opus tessellatum mosaic. Mercury’s wings and the mosaic’s overall outline consist of hand-cut limestone tiles.

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