Giving free rein to superb artistic imagination and intimate knowledge of his environment, the master mosaicist of Tabgha created a multi-specied flock of birds fighting, feeding and resting amid a rich texture of Galilee flora. In these photographs we see an album of scenes primarily from the mosaic of the church’s left transept, which covers an area of about 385 square feet.

Unfortunately, the Tabgha mosaicist did not sign his work. We will never know his name, but his masterpiece reveals his character in a way best described by Alfons Maria Schneider, a member of the German archaeological team that excavated the site in 1932: “The well-planned composition, the loving observation of nature and the elegance of the execution make it impossible to look on the mosaics as merely the work of an experienced craftsman working from a plan; on the contrary, they give the impression of having been especially conceived and executed for the church by one who was an expert in his craft … a sensitive man endowed with the full knowledge of the aesthetic charm and the stirring beauty of the things of this world.”