Go to Navigation
Go to Content
Go to Search
Part of The American Wing
Rosina Cox Boardman (1878–1970)
Date: 1921Accession Number: 1988.306
John Singleton Copley (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1738–1815 London)
Date: ca. 1769Accession Number: 39.174
Robert Field (American (born England), Gloucestershire ca. 1769–1819 Kingston, Jamaica)
Date: 1804Accession Number: 39.141
Theodora W. Thayer (1868–1905)
Date: ca. 1898Accession Number: 57.90.1
Elsie Dodge Pattee (1876–1975)
Date: ca. 1923Accession Number: 29.174.5
Helen M. Turner (1858–1958)
Date: 1911Accession Number: 14.57.4
Browse current and upcoming exhibitions and events.
The tradition of miniature painting—tiny watercolor portraits on ivory—emerged in America in the eighteenth century. Based on European models, portrait miniatures are related to ancient and medieval devotional paintings and illuminated manuscripts. Originally made to be worn or carried, each is inextricably tied to its function as memento, love token, or reliquary. The works in this gallery portray husbands, wives, lovers, and children, both living and dead, and commemorate births, deaths, and marriages. The miniatures have been placed in a range of mounts, including metal lockets, other types of jewelry, and pocket-sized leather cases. After the invention of the daguerreotype in 1839, many miniaturists abandoned their art, but some chose to compete with photography. A later revival of the tradition endured into the early decades of the twentieth century.
© 2000–2014 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.