My First Blog Post

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

This is the second in a series of blogs on miniatures found in museum collections (See Part 1 here). Museums that present the history of European paintings may not seem like a good place to find miniatures but a careful look can reveal some delightful and unexpected examples of miniatures. These paintings are from the National Gallery in London but any major museum will have similar works. I concentrated here on paintings from the 15th to 17th centuries.

This 1598 painting of “The Adoration of the Kings” (Jan Brueghel the Elder) started my search for miniatures in these painting because it has a very prominent boat-shaped container that is being offered as a gift to the baby Jesus.

Adoration of the Kings 1
The Adoration of the Kings 1
Adoration of the Kings 2
The Adoration of the Kings 2

Carlo Crivelli’s 1486 painting, “The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius,” was painted for an altar in the town of Ascoli which is shown in a model carried by the patron saint of the town.

The Annunciation 1
The Annunciation 1
The Annunciation 2
The Annunciation 2

“The Madonna of the Swallow,” painted in 1490, also by Carlo Crivelli, also uses a building model to locate the painting in a real location, the church for which the painting was commissioned.

The Madonna of the Swallow1
The Madonna of the Swallow2

Antonella da Messina’s 1475 painting. “Saint Jerome in his Study,” does not include a model of a building but it does have a curious miniature element: a miniature tree in a pot, like a bonsai.

Saint Jerome in his Study1
Saint Jerome in his Study1
Saint Jerome in his Study2
Saint Jerome in his Study2
Saint Jerome in his Study3
Saint Jerome in his Study3

Finally, the 1646 painting, “Witches at their Incantations,” by Salvator Rosa, shows one of the witches using a small human figure to perform a ritual.

Witches at their Incantations1
Witches at their Incantations1
Witches at their Incantations2
Witches at their Incantations2


If you are a miniaturist you know that the most familiar places to view miniatures are the miniature exhibit and sales room, and the few miniature museums that are located in the center of the country. But for those who can’t visit these venues, there are miniatures located in pretty much every museum across the country. This series on museum miniatures will show you how to locate these wonderful examples of miniature work.

The first set of examples are from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Described as the world’s leading museum of art and design, the V&A may not seem like a place you would find many miniatures. But here are some amazing examples. My definition of what counts as a miniature may differ from yours but I believe every miniaturist should look at this kind of work.

This German altarpiece from 1520 depicts St. Margaret in a series of tableaux showing her being tortured because she will not renounce Christianity. The design reminds me of a comic book with actions taking place in a series of panels. You can find similar altarpieces in every collection of 16th century art.
Detail of the figures.
Exquisitely detailed carved 16th century prayer beads are available for viewing in several famous museum. This one is about 2 inches across and like other beads depicts a Biblical scene.
These silver miniatures are presented in the museum as toys, as objects for children. But it is also possible that they were collected by adults or used as examples of craftsmanship.
Detail, tiny tea set.
A 15th century reliquary (a container holding the remains of a saint) casket, as well as reliquaries in other forms, often have miniatures incorporated. These miniature figures are a few inches tall.
Miniature painted portraits began around the 1520s and became very popular across Europe. These portraits were worn like medals, sometimes representing a loved one or secret love. This one is about 2 inches across.
Carvings of wood and ivory were popular objects favored by wealthy patrons. The piece here is about 16 inches tall and includes detailed carving all around.
A side view.
This is a house altar from about 1750. I am not sure if these were merely decorative or were used for some ceremonies.
Early 19th century micromosaic. Using up to 5000 pieces (tesserae) make the images look almost painted.
Many of these mosaics used themes and images from ancient Rome.
Plaque with basket of flowers, 1825
Model of the state coach, 1760. The full scale version was created during the reign of King George III.
Model of an 18th to 19th century home in Northumberland. Created in 2001.
Detail of room.
Cork model of the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, 1770.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.