Miniature art is a genre that focuses on art (particularly painting, but also including engraving and sculpture) which’s main characteristic is the detailing of its pieces. It is also known as “painting in little” since it is mostly associated to popular picture-sized pieces, revered for their small dimensions, yet meticulous technique and beautiful colors.

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Ironically, the name “miniature” itself does not relates to the drawings or paintings lengths, but to the red-colored pigment the ancient transcribers usually used in their manuscripts. It is called minium, an etymological start of our modern word “miniature”.

The practice of miniature painting as a whole dates back to the medieval ages, firstly instituted by the scribes of the era, in order to illustrate their manuscripts. Standard miniature art is to be found all over countries like Persia, India and Turkey, and other far eastern countries from. The artworks date from the year 1400, in the form of manuscript illuminations.

Truthfully, miniature art’s main focus rests in the detailing of its paintings rather than their magnitude. There are known wall-sized works categorized as miniature art, as they were registered by numerous art societies since they employ the “miniature” technique, even though sketching and then painting larger works in miniature is way more daring and arduous than a common undersized piece due to the perfectionism that it requires.

The same societies that registered these works, (amongst them some specifically dedicated to miniature art, such as the World Federation of Miniaturists (WFM)), offer appropriate definitions of the term “miniature” and requisites about what makes an artwork to be labelled as miniature art so the artist’s works can be listed as such.

The most frequently used designation is that a piece of miniature art must be fit to be held in the palm of the hand, or that it encompasses a smaller size than 25 square inches, or 100 cm². The themes or subjects plastered on the painting must be portrayed in 1/6 actual size and, all in all, the most important part is for the piece of to maintain the spirit and dedication to neatness.

Due to its antiqueness and unique qualities, miniature art is highly popular amongst collectors and high-rank museums. The U.S. White House, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Astolat Dollhouse Castle and more around the world possess and exhibit collections of miniature paintings, drawings, original prints and designs, and sculptures.

Miniature Art Societies organize and host annual demonstrations in a number of locations around the world. The Miniature Art Society of Florida is the holder of perhaps one of the greatest miniature art displays in the USA. Galleries such as Seaside Art Gallery and The Snowgoose Gallery also have annual international showings where guests are encouraged to look at the paintings and sculptures with the use of enlarging lenses.

Another curious fact about miniature art is that it is greatly employed as a method to illustrate very small scale images for books (namely children’s books) or albums on perishable material such as paper and cloth.  

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