Can you imagine sitting perfectly still for hours at a time, just so someone could paint your picture? Miniature painting came into practice during the16th century in Europe. Originally called "liminings" or "painting in little," these portraits were sometimes made small enough to wear as jewelry. This miniature is a portrait of Mr. and Mrs. E. Percipal. The miniature was probably painted to commemorate a marriage or anniversary. Each painting was carefully created using small brushes and watercolor to capture detail and personality. Once the portraits were finished, they were framed and signed. Here, we see how the artist signed his/her work "Dubios" in the lower right hand section of the painting. Upper class and middle-class families commissioned miniature portraits for occasions such as marriage, anniversaries, births, and deaths. Many clients would sit still for hours at a time, just so the artist could correctly capture their image. Painted on small ivory disks, the artist would usually try to hold the disk in his/her hand using paper or newsprint to avoid directly touching the delicate ivory. These works are examples of the time and care artists took to create realistic and meaningful portraits of their clients, who in turn used these Miniatures to commemorate special events in their lives.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
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