Tiny Treasures: The Magic of Miniatures
Simply defined, a miniature is an object smaller than its parent object—compare a chair made for a dolls’ house at two inches tall with a normal-sized one. The unexpected scale of miniatures, especially in relation to humans as viewers, can be instantly unsettling and uncanny. But miniatures are full of charm and humor, and they carry meaning all the more profound for being distilled into a smaller form.
Featuring works in a surprising array of media—paintings, drawings, ceramics, precious metals and gems, and more—from the 7th century BCE to the present day, this exhibition explores miniaturization in art and how artists and artisans play with our perception of scale. The more than 100 objects on view span a range of sizes, from just a few centimeters to over two feet, and include amulets from ancient Egypt, sculpted ivory and wood netsuke from Edo Japan, and jewelry depicting miniaturized everyday items.
Through a selection of objects that’s as expansive as it is eclectic, visitors can see miniatures, which are by nature overlooked, as masterpieces in their own right. They provide as much stimulation as grander works, and their intricate details, requiring an incredible amount of skill to execute, often make them more demanding to create than their larger counterparts. With everything from diminutive decor to mini woven baskets—and even a pint-sized painting by Picasso—“Tiny Treasures” shows miniatures to be far more compelling than their size would suggest.
- Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Gallery (Gallery 155)