Perfect Likeness: European and American Portrait Miniatures from the Cincinnati Art Museum

Overview

Diminutive marvels of artistry and fine craftsmanship, portrait miniatures reveal a wealth of information within their small frames. They can tell tales of cultural history and biography, of people and their passions, of evolving tastes in jewelry, fashion, hairstyles, and the decorative arts. Unlike many other genres, miniatures have a tradition in which amateurs and professionals have operated in parallel and women artists have flourished as professionals. 
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Overview

Diminutive marvels of artistry and fine craftsmanship, portrait miniatures reveal a wealth of information within their small frames. They can tell tales of cultural history and biography, of people and their passions, of evolving tastes in jewelry, fashion, hairstyles, and the decorative arts. Unlike many other genres, miniatures have a tradition in which amateurs and professionals have operated in parallel and women artists have flourished as professionals. 
 This richly illustrated book presents approximately 180 portrait miniatures selected from the holdings of the Cincinnati Art Museum, the largest and most diverse collection of its kind in North America. The book stresses the continuity of stylistic tradition across Europe and America as well as the vitality of the portrait miniature format through more than four centuries. A detailed catalogue entry, as well as a concise artist biography, appears for each object. Essays examine various aspects of miniature painting, of the depiction of costume in miniatures, and of the allied art of hair work.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"Perfect Likeness showcases the largest collection of miniatures in the U.S. . . . "—Booklist
Library Journal
The appeal of a portrait in miniature may seem strange in our society of "bigger is better," but for more than three centuries these small, intimate paintings on ivory or vellum, mounted in lockets, brooches, and bracelets, represented the ultimate personal artifacts. This handsome catalog of an exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum (on display through May 28, 2006) emphasizes the beauty and intimacy of this highly personal art form and showcases one of the most extensive collections of portrait miniatures in North America. Included are artists from the late 16th to the early 20th centuries from the United States, Britain, and France as well as Canada and Italy. Most of the 180 portraits are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and are reproduced in actual size, underscoring the extreme talent (and, indeed, superior eyesight) of the artists. The essays provide good introductions to the topic and highlight current paths of research (dress/costume and hair styles). Accompanying each full-color image is an entry that contains notes, references, provenance, exhibitions, and a short biography of the artist. Recommended for all libraries that collect European and American art history titles.-Kraig Binkowski, Yale Ctr. for British Art, New Haven, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300115802
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/10/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Aronson is curator of American painting and sculpture, and Marjorie E. Wieseman is curator of European painting and sculpture, at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

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