Miniature art

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Miniature chair; by Peter Carl Fabergé; made between 1896 and 1906; Gold, silver gilt, enamel over engine turned ground simulating brocaded textile, rubies and diamonds; overall: 10.5 x 5.3 x 4.8 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art (USA)
Miniature oil painting of Hamilton Pool, Texas Hill Country; oil on 2.5 x 3.5 in. panel
Miniature cooking shape; circa 1700-1799; copper; 1.8 × 3.7 cm; Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Miniature art includes paintings, engravings and sculptures that are very small; it has a long history that dates back to prehistory. The portrait miniature is the most common form in recent centuries, and from ancient times, engraved gems, often used as impression seals, and cylinder seals in various materials were very important. For example most surviving examples of figurative art from the Indus Valley civilization and in Minoan art are very small seals. Gothic boxwood miniatures are very small carvings in wood, used for rosary beads and the like.

Western paintings in illuminated manuscripts are known as miniatures, even if not very small - this sense of the word in fact has a different derivation, from a Latin word for a reddish pigment. Miniature art has been made for over 2500 years and is prized by collectors. Museums around the world have collections of miniature paintings, drawings, original prints and etchings, and sculpture.[citation needed]

Miniature art societies, such as the World Federation of Miniaturists (WFM) and Royal Miniature Society, provide applicable of the maximum size covered by the term.[1] An often-used definition is that a piece of miniature art can be held in the palm of the hand, or that it covers less than 25 square inches or 100 cm². Some exhibits require the subjects to be depicted in 1/6 actual size, and in all paintings the spirit of miniaturisation should be maintained.


Miniature Art Societies hold annual shows around the world. The Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, DC, is the oldest miniature art society in the USA. The Miniature Art Society of Florida is possibly one of the largest miniature art shows in the USA. Galleries such as Seaside Art Gallery, The Snowgoose Gallery, and the Ciders Painters of America also hold annual exhibitions where visitors are invited to view the paintings and sculptures under magnifying lenses.

Artists of the miniature art genre[edit]

Ming dynasty glazed ceramic model of a courtyard

Artists known for working in miniature include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Submitting Artwork". Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  2. ^ "When science and art produce nanosculpture marvels"., Nancy Owano. 18 Nov 2014.

Further reading[edit]