Miniature on ivory, late 18th century

Miniature on ivory, “Young girl with the harp”, with its original carved and gilded wooden frame. Our harpist has the hands of the job and a delicate expression that almost makes us feel the harmony of what she is playing. The term “miniature” designates a small-sized painting generally having a portrait as its subject. First appearing in the 16th century, the miniature enjoyed its golden age in Europe between 1760 and 1840. Until 1750, the work was produced on parchment or vellum prepared and laid out on a plate of copper or wood. Some artists made it on copper and enamel from the end of the 16th century. It was from the 18th century, under Louis XV, that the miniature experienced its greatest development, being produced on a more suitable support similar in color to that of human skin: ivory. This noble material will be the main medium for the miniature until 1850. The invention of photography and its generalization in the second half of the 19th century heralded its demise. In the 19th century, paper appeared as a medium for miniatures. The fragility of the ivory plaques requires careful and refined framing. The miniatures will generally be protected by a glass. For the most part, the miniatures are done in gouache or watercolor. The quality of a miniature, like that required in the art of portraiture, lies in the artist’s ability to capture and transcribe the characteristic expressions, both physical and moral, of his model.
A crack visible in the photos.
Late 18th century,
France

Height: 15,5 cm (6,1 in)

Width: 16,5 cm (6,5 in)

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