The History of Miniature Art

May 03, 2018

Enlightened is a miniature painting by Debra Keirce

It's the mid 1500's and King Henry VIII and his court were ardent admirers of miniature portraits. These little treasures became mementos of loved ones. They were also presented to prospective brides & husbands during the betrothal process.

The popularity of miniatures flourished in Europe & America until the 1850's. Then, like today, technology threatened miniature art with extinction. Photography was starting to be used and this gave people a cheaper alternative to having likenesses of their loved ones.  Many miniature artists were forced to make a living by tinting photographs or creating larger portraits.

As a result, by the end of the 19th Century, there were few miniature artists still working. They decided that in order for their art to survive they needed to organize.

Day Dreaming is a miniature painting by Sue WallTwo Revival Period miniature art societies were born in England in 1896. The Royal Society of Miniature Painters Sculptors & Gravers (RMS) is still in existence today.  Since this time, more organizations were founded. Thanks to their efforts, this beloved art genre has not only survived but is flourishing. The miniature art form has gained recognition and admiration among the collectors of today.

The same fine art qualities that are found in larger works must also be used in miniature art.

The love of miniature art has expanded across the globe. It is easy to indulge yourself when collecting since the art does not require a special space, they are perfect for people who are downsizing and the art is easy to transport. They really are like beautiful little gems of the art world.

Seaside Art Gallery hosts a miniature art show each year in May. We also represent award winning artists that specialize in this genre and you can see them at Miniature Art


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