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.

madonna1490-1
The Madonna of the Swallow1
madonna1490-2
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