Intricate mosaic by Portsmouth artist Pete Codling honours Bible translator for the digital age

A MAJOR new artwork created by a city artist celebrates the scholar St Jerome in a mosaic bringing his works to the digital age.

Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 7:00 am
Portsmouth-based artist Pete Codling has created a mosaic depicting the achievements of St Jerome which is being displayed in St John's Catholic Cathedral. Pictured: The Angel Gabriel in the left panel addresses Mary in the right panel; New Testament scenes fill the centre panel
Portsmouth-based artist Pete Codling has created a mosaic depicting the achievements of St Jerome which is being displayed in St John's Catholic Cathedral. Pictured: The Angel Gabriel in the left panel addresses Mary in the right panel; New Testament scenes fill the centre panel

Unveiled at St John's Catholic Cathedral on September 30, the 1,600th anniversary of St Jerome’s death, Little Bits of God created by Pete Codling tells the story of the Bible using the smalti mosaic technique.

Jerome, who lived from 347AD to 420AD, translated the Bible from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into Latin, the first scholar to do so systematically.

His Vulgate translation became the standard biblical text of the Roman Catholic Church and is still used today.

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Portsmouth-based artist Pete Codling has created a mosaic depicting the achievements of St Jerome which is being displayed in St John's Catholic Cathedral. Pictured: St Jerome works at translating the Bible on a laptop, with his scrolls in the background

Sponsored by Bible Society and the Catholic Church in England and Wales, the mosaic created by Pete Codling is celebrating his achievement, depicting Jerome with the traditional symbols associated with him of a lion, a book and a skull.

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Pete said: ‘In this contemporary mosaic the book pages on his desk blend into a computer keyboard and his stylised quill pen, or stylus, remind the viewer that Bible reading, learning and studying also now take place online via the internet. The Bible speaks now through the digital as well as the printed text.’

Another modern reference that picks up the theme of mortality and suffering is the depiction of three-year-old Syrian refugee boy Alan Kurdi, drowned in 2015 as his family attempted to leave Turkey.

Portsmouth-based artist Pete Codling has created a mosaic depicting the achievements of St Jerome which is being displayed in St John's Catholic Cathedral. Pictured: Pete Codling's intricate work

Biblical figures including Jesus, Mary and St Matthew are also represented.

Pete added: ‘The idea behind this artwork has challenged me technically as well as artistically. My research for this artwork took me to Ravenna and Venice in search of materials, technique and craftsmanship.

‘I wanted to portray the Bible visually, and convey the journey of translation from the oral tradition to the digital age in one coherent artwork.’

Portsmouth-based artist Pete Codling has created a mosaic depicting the achievements of St Jerome which is being displayed in St John's Catholic Cathedral. Pictured: Pete Codling's intricate work

The mosaic stands on a pedestal which is an integral part of the work. It is more than two metres tall and is formed of ten panels created from thousands of pieces of coloured glass.

It is currently in St John's Catholic Cathedral in Bishop Crispian Way, and next year it will begin a tour of England and Wales.

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