What is Miniature Art?
Miniature art is fine art.
Miniature art is a specialty art, not a novelty art. Through
the ages it has been considered an art form. Miniature art is
most often extremely detailed work, exquisite in color with a
strength of composition which can more than compete with larger
paintings. A compositional guide requires a gentle, no more than
1/6th scale of the actual subject.
A miniature usually takes as
long or longer to produce as a large piece of art. A fine miniature
can be magnified many times and it will still hold together as
a fine work of art of much greater size. Most artists can work
large, but few have the skill and discipline to work miniature.
2008 Award winning artworkThis unique art form, based on a minute
scale, traces its roots back to the book paintings and illuminated
manuscripts of the 7th century.
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There is much debate as to
if there is a technique to be considered as the best, more accurate,
or most correct technique... Techniques such as stippling, hatching
and pointillism are sometimes only discovered under magnification.
The answer is to study others from past to present.Whatever technique
is used, it should meticulously handled and the workmanship flawless.
Miniature art sometimes defeats the spectator's belief as to
what is possible for the artist to create in such a small space.
Man's fascination with creating
in small scale has been evidenced in many of the world's civilizations.
Ancient Greeks adorned their walls with small murals while coins
and rings bore engraved portraits. In the Middle Ages, monks
often embellished manuscript pages with delicate illuminations
and bordered them with a red lead pigment called minium from
which miniature later evolved.
Elizabethan England was noted
for its miniature portraits on vellum and later ivory, which
served much as small photographs do today. A very personalized
form of art, it was easily carried in pocket or locket. The period
of exploration and colonization brought the miniature to America's
shores where its European heritage soon reflected the influences
of the New World and its challenges and freedoms. The advent
of photography in the mid-nineteenth century drastically reduced
the appeal of the miniature portrait. However, the love of creating
art "in the small" did not die.
The end of the last century
and the early years of the twentieth century witnessed the revival
period of interest in miniaturism followed somewhat later by
the current resurgence. Today's practitioners of American Miniaturism
reach far beyond the portrait field, embracing a wide variety
of subject matter, media and techniques.
On the practical side, miniature
art, with its minimal space requirements and favorable cost comparisons,
places original fine art within the reach of both art lovers
WHAT IS MASF?
The Miniature Art Society
of Florida, Inc., is one of a number of non-profit groups in
the United States involved in contemporary miniaturism. Founded
in 1974 in Clearwater by Bede Zel Angle, Dunedin artist and teacher,
it has grown from two dozen early organizers to more than 400
members in the United States and several foreign countries. It
has brought Clearwater and Florida to the forefront in the rising
resurgence of interest in miniature art.
WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES?
The Society encourages artists
to become involved in the exciting world of miniaturism. It seeks
to broaden the awareness of the public and collectors to the
delicate beauty and refinement of this venerable art form. Its
scholarship efforts assist talented young artists of the future.
The first exhibit of contemporary
miniature art on the Suncoast was presented by the Society at
the Florida Gulf Coast Center in 1975. An invitational show,
it featured several hundred works of award winners from the United
This was followed in 1976
by the First National Miniature Art Show at the Bank of Clearwater.
An open competitive show, it was succeeded by 13 international
shows held at the former Kapok Tree Restaurant.
The Fifteenth International
Show was held at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg in 1990,
followed by the 1991 show at the Summit Conference Center in
Clearwater. The 1998 Show was held in the prestigious Belleview
Mido Resort Hotel.
Over the years the Society
has also exhibited upon invitation at the Dunedin Fine Art Center
and in 1989 joined with the Tampa Museum of Art in a unique show
of historical and contemporary miniatures.
Some of its permanent collection
of over one hundred pieces may be seen at Clearwater East Library
and is exhibited each year at the International Show. It traveled
in 1989 to select Suncoast locations of Fortune Bank. During
the same year MASF artists donated ten paintings to the city
of Clearwater for presentation by Mayor Rita Garvey to its Sister
City, Nagano, Japan.
The MASF PERMANENT
The MASF Permanent Collection
began in 1976 with the objective goal of the Society purchasing
outstanding artworks representing contemporary miniature art.
This collection is displayed at local libraries in the Clearwater,
FL region and at special events. It is usually on display in
connection with the annual MASF International Exhibition each
January. The Society published Catalogue of the Miniature Collection
in 2000 highlighting the works aquired up to that date. The MASF
Permanent Collection numbers over 125 works as of 2009. Five
panels of the MASF Permanent Collection went on year round display
at the MASF office at Sterling Commons in Dunedin, FL in October
A few of the Collection's
cases are provided below.
The Miniature Art Society of
2519 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 510-252
Clearwater, FL 33761 USA
All images © MASF and the
respective artists. Artwork featured on this website has been
awarded in a MASF Exhibition or is part of the Permanent Collection.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Gott and Wes Siegrist. Miniatureartsocietyofflorida.com/miniature-art.com
is the official website of The Miniature Art Society of Florida.
All artwork, images and contents of this website are © Miniature
Art Society of Florida and the respective Artists.