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What is Miniature Art?

Miniature art is fine art. Miniature art is a specialty art, not a novelty art. Through the ages it has been considered an art form. Miniature art is most often extremely detailed work, exquisite in color with a strength of composition which can more than compete with larger paintings. A compositional guide requires a gentle, no more than 1/6th scale of the actual subject.

A miniature usually takes as long or longer to produce as a large piece of art. A fine miniature can be magnified many times and it will still hold together as a fine work of art of much greater size. Most artists can work large, but few have the skill and discipline to work miniature. This unique art form, based on a minute scale, traces its roots back to the book paintings and illuminated manuscripts of the 7th century.

There is much debate as to if there is a technique to be considered as the best, more accurate, or most correct technique... Techniques such as stippling, hatching and pointillism are sometimes only discovered under magnification. The answer is to study others from past to present. Whatever technique is used, it should meticulously handled and the workmanship flawless. Miniature art sometimes defeats the spectator's belief as to what is possible for the artist to create in such a small space.

Man's fascination with creating in small scale has been evidenced in many of the world's civilizations. Ancient Greeks adorned their walls with small murals while coins and rings bore engraved portraits. In the Middle Ages, monks often embellished manuscript pages with delicate illuminations and bordered them with a red lead pigment called minium from which miniature later evolved.

Elizabethan England was noted for its miniature portraits on vellum and later ivory, which served much as small photographs do today. A very personalized form of art, it was easily carried in pocket or locket. The period of exploration and colonization brought the miniature to America's shores where its European heritage soon reflected the influences of the New World and its challenges and freedoms. The advent of photography in the mid-nineteenth century drastically reduced the appeal of the miniature portrait. However, the love of creating art "in the small" did not die.

The end of the last century and the early years of the twentieth century witnessed the revival period of interest in miniaturism followed somewhat later by the current resurgence. Today's practitioners of American Miniaturism reach far beyond the portrait field, embracing a wide variety of subject matter, media and techniques.

On the practical side, miniature art, with its minimal space requirements and favorable cost comparisons, places original fine art within the reach of both art lovers and collectors.


The Miniature Art Society of Florida (MASF)
730 Broadway, 2nd Floor
Dunedin FL 34698

Mailing address: 1497 Main Street
Box 323
Dunedin, FL 34698 USA

To contact MASF's Administrator, e-mail admin@miniatureartsocietyofflorida.com

All images © MASF and the respective artists. Artwork featured on this website has been awarded in a MASF Exhibition or is part of the Permanent Collection. Photos courtesy of Andrew Gott and Wes Siegrist. Miniatureartsocietyofflorida.com/miniature-art.com is the official website of The Miniature Art Society of Florida. All artwork, images and contents of this website are © Miniature Art Society of Florida and the respective Artists.