How do you keep the people in your life close? One way that has prevailed throughout history is through portraits. Not traditional portraits to be hung on walls, but miniatures, which meant you could take your loved one anywhere in the world with you. “Unlike larger-scale portraiture, portrait miniatures were meant to be held close, to be contemplated in private,” this video explains. “In this episode of Masterworks: Expert Voices, open a window onto a long-departed world and discover more about this incredibly intimate and skilled art form.”
Though this particular form of art hasn’t been as popular since photography allowed people to carry a photo in a locket, the rich history of portrait miniatures is incredible. For some reason, miniatures of all kinds — from portraits to paintings drawn on the head of a pin — have a unique way of fascinating. The level of skill required, the uncanny ability to fit so much detail into such a small space — there’s so much that can be done. You can see the video from Sotheby’s here:
Portrait miniatures may no longer be a popular way to carry your loved ones with you, but these tiny works of art would have been cherished by their owners — and that sense of value and intimacy still resonates in the pieces today.