Miniature painting and miniatures are usually associated with European renaissance painting styles. miniature painting started in Italy around the 1400s and gradually spread all over Europe. Miniature art comprises sculptures, engravings and paintings which are normally quite small; it even has a very long history which dates back as far as prehistology. The word miniature is from the French word minime, meaning tiny.
Miniature works can be found in almost every country in the world. For example: a painting of a baby discovered in the attic by an English lady in the 14th century has been attributed to Florence – miniatures of this kind are still commonly found in libraries. In Chinese culture, the word minzu means a flower in Japanese. In Korea, the term for miniatures is hyegyong, while in Japan it is called kakegami.
Miniature paintings or miniatures first became popular among European antique collectors during the Baroque period (from roughly 1500 to about 1700). During this time, miniatures became more popular than most paintings because they were cheaper and could be produced relatively easily. During this time, Italian miniature painters became known for their expertise on the field. This brought about increased demand for their miniatures. This was also the era in which some of the best manuscript paintings were created.
Miniatures became very common in the baroque and Renaissance periods. As the style progressed, so did the popularity of the miniature painting. In the late medieval and early Renaissance period, a lot of great painters used miniatures to produce highly decorative masterpieces. The most famous among these artists were Rubens, whom some people consider to be the father of modern art, and whom others regard as a poor man who only painted miniatures as a means to an end. However, others considered him to be one of the most innovative artists in the renaissance period.
Miniature paintings and sculptures became more common not only in the Italian renaissance but in the middle ages as well. In the latter part of the thirteenth century, Florence of Tuscany produced some of the most beautiful miniatures ever to be produced. Most of these famous works were focused on depictions of Madonna and Child, although there were some other depictions that were equally impressive. Other famous miniatures from this time period include the Vitruvian Man and the Last Supper, which is a famous work by Leonardo da Vinci.
The development of printing technology brought about major changes in the way that many works of art were done. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, scrying was introduced. This allowed people to look through a piece of paper so that they could see a part of the miniature in a different color. Printing technology advanced even further, enabling mass production of miniatures, which greatly increased their popularity. In the fourteenth century, the printing process became much faster, allowing for larger quantities of miniatures to be produced. In fact, it was during the sixteenth century that miniatures truly began to become popular.
The fifteenth century brought about significant political and social changes in Italy. After the deposition of the Dictator from the Paliano, the city of Rome came under the control of the Roman Catholic Church. This brought about major restrictions on all types of miniature art. This, of course, included all art related to religion and specifically, biblical depictions of Jesus and the Ten Commandments.
During the sixteenth century, there was a movement towards liberalization, especially when it came to religious depictions. miniature paintings began to make a come back, including some works related to the Virgin Mary and Jesus. By the seventeenth century, there was a full return to miniatures as the Renaissance had largely ended. Miniature paintings also appeared during the late Middle Ages, and they remained popular right up until the early nineteenth century. Today, many people still prefer to purchase a full-size version of a miniature compared to a scale-model version.