Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Tiny Bit of History re Miniature Art - Uffizi, Florence

I was fortunate enough to spot an original miniature in a 2nd hand store, and purchased it, despite it looking like a Christmas card cut out. It was about 2x3", in an oval shape.
I do have the details somewhere of the artist that painted it, even though the work was not signed. It may even be that the piece of paper I have, bearing the signature, came with the miniature when it was purchased.
I found out that my miniature is a 'copy' of one of the most popular artworks that was on display at the Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy. The painting is Carlo Dolci's (1616-1686) "Magdalene". From what I understand, this was one of the most popular paintings in the Uffizi Art Museum in Florence, Italy.

Doing research I found that miniaturists would work in the Uffizi museums in Florence and Venice around the turn of the 19th/20th century, and offer or paint replicas of the paintings. These were sold to the tourists as souvenirs. How much they cost, I can't imagine. But it seems that my miniature is one of these.
What I find 'amusing' is the 'Victorian' style that it is done in, rather than trying to copy the painting reflecting the style of the 1600s.
Here is the miniature I own. I think it is either on ivory or ivorine, it is a hard translucent surface.

Click on the image for more detail, and here is more detail - magnified...

For anyone researching information on the history of miniatures, this could be interesting information. I certainly found it interesting. Particularly I'd like to know more about the artists that worked as miniaturists in the museum(s), catering to the tourist trade.