Some information about “Miniature” art. Please read article extracts below.
“ Miniature Painting - A Brief
History of the Art of Miniature"
Miniature painting began out of necessity for illustrating documents and manuscripts to aid those reading them during a time when many were not able to, before printing was invented. The miniature helped to convey the story and meaning of the written word. Therefore, the art of miniature painting is directly connected to the book arts. The various sized illuminations (pictures) were cut out of these books or documents so that they could be carried more easily. Later, developing from the carried miniature, portrait miniature artists were commissioned to paint small portraits – paintings that were used as we use wallet sized photographs today. These sizes of miniature paintings became popular with collectors and are often referred to as “hand held miniatures”. Portrait miniatures were painted in larger sizes as well, for example master miniaturist, Nicholas Hilliard, Peter Oliver, and Sir Charles William Ross all painted works that were of a larger size.”
Miniature painting is a style and technique of painting, and as such, a wall sized work could be painted “in miniature”. Authors of the Yale University Press publication, “The English Miniature” have stated that miniatures have been painted large and some works are even considered to be gigantic. Numerous faculty members of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London confirm that miniature paintings are not restricted to smallness. Larger sized miniature paintings are documented throughout history and are recognized today, though painting larger works in miniature is more difficult and time consuming than a smaller piece if the same attention to detail is observed. Miniature art is also unique in that it was and is often used on objects, such as the Russian lacquer boxes that are beautiful examples of Russian miniature painting.”
Artists painting miniatures throughout history were not restricted in their artwork by scale as their subjects were painted to any measurement or scale that the artist deemed pleasing to the eye and their patrons, for both manuscripts and other miniatures. Subjects that are naturally small in size, such as butterflies and insects, were painted life sized. Thus the 1/6th scale rule that is used by some shows and societies today unfortunately causes a bit of confusion to those new to the art form who commonly assume that is it a part of a mechanical criteria of the miniature's definition. The world's experts in miniatures do not recognize the rule as legitimate, and view those embracing it as unknowledgeable, and dismiss them.
The term "miniature", as it addresses miniature painting, is often confused with "miniaturize" and some miniature art exhibitions do not refer to miniature as it's initial meaning of techniques, but rather the size of the painting (miniaturized painting). They are two very separate descriptions.
Miniature painting is an art form that is very rich in history that continues today by artists from around the globe. The beautiful ornamental qualities of the miniature should be preserved whether it be the intricate large pieces, or intimate hand held works.
Many thanks to Joan Willies RMS, the Victoria & Albert”
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