The History And Meaning Of Small Art Prints

in Art
There seems to be a whirlwind of interest and fascination in the art world with miniature art, trading cards and unique framed tabletop small art prints. Although many of these intricately painted masterpieces may appear new to many, the idea and practice has been alive and well for over 300 years.

Miniature art on glass and etched on ivory has been found as early as 250 AD but the 1500s brought popularity with portraits that were independent of pictures in manuscripts. Jean Clouet of France is believed to have been the first artist to embellish this type of painting and creating small prints that could be framed or kept in jeweled boxes as precious memories.

Master painters of small prints refined and critiqued painting techniques and were often employed by Kings and Queens to create portraits of their families. Queen Elizabeth I had two notable artists at the turn of the 17th century. Nicholas Hilliard and his apprentice, Isaac Oliver had a hand in making limning a popular portraiture. Oliver wrote the first manual on miniature painting techniques in 1600, titled The Art of Limning. It was during this period that Samuel Cooper was hailed as one of the greatest of miniaturists.

By the 18th century, miniature artists were in large demand and the American Colonies followed suit in their new home. New ideas for landscapes and more brilliant colors were highlighting portraits of the small art prints. In Italy, an artist by the name of Rosalba Carriera began painting miniature art on ivory and soon became a favorite of many artists.

By 1850, photography began replacing portrait miniature art but the skill of the trade could not be replaced with a photograph. The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers (RMS) was formed in 1896 to keep the specialty prints of small art prints alive and is still in existence today. Other societies and groups have been formed and include special types of painting and miniature artwork such as contemporary miniature art.

There is something special about small prints as you are allowed to handle and cherish, following every move of the meticulous artist as the brush has transferred lines and color into a breathing scene that almost pulsates in your hand. Miniature artwork has never disappeared from the days that presented precious. In fact, the artwork has evolved and transposed into many different displays of history, fantasy, characters and landscape.

Small art prints can allow your imagination to run wild and dream of worlds never seen, people that present a story or just a lovely memory of how a season will come once again. Discover how miniature prints can fulfill a passion for beauty that you never noticed in large wall paintings that present overall beauty as opposed to intricate design and awesome skill by leading artists that perhaps you never knew existed.
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Jacque Crook has 1 articles online


Small art prints, All figurines were hand-painted by him and the settings containing them were solely of his creation.

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The History And Meaning Of Small Art Prints

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This article was published on 2010/12/09