The mosaic Yuri Gagarin from The roundabout at Plovdiv International Fair

Artist: Ioan Leviev

Date: 1970

Dimensions: 2.30 m x 6.30 m

The mosaic panel is located northeast of the roundabout at “Tsar Boris III Obedinitel” Blvd. and “Bulgaria” Blvd. next to the Plovdiv International Fair. It is placed on a monolithic plinth that is three times longer than it is tall; the plinth is situated in such a way that the mosaic panel faces the roundabout.

The panel portrays a male figure with ancient-looking hair and clothing – the ancient Greek figure Icarus, who escaped the Minotaur on the island of Crete with wings made by his father Daedalus. Above his left palm is a circular non-mosaic element – a portrait of Yuri Gagarin in a space suit that was popular at the time of the mosaic’s installation. Beneath the portrait are the dates of Gagarin’s birth, his first flight in open space, and his death.

The technique for the mosaic is opus tessellatum, which is laid in a distinctively stylistic manner.

The tesserae are hewn from natural stone and come in five colors: red, white, ochre, light gray, and dark gray. Most of the tesserae have irregular shapes. Their sizes vary between 2 and 8 cm, and some are even larger.

The mosaic is the work of contractors who most likely laid it in situ on the plinth that was specifically built for it.

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