Miniature portraiture had its origin in Renaissance humanism. When fifteenth- and sixteenth-century patrons and artists began to abandon religious themes, they turned to landscape, genre, and portraiture. Of these, portraiture was emphatically human-centered, with the primary concern being the creation of a credible likeness. Closely tied to royal patronage, the first miniatures resembled manuscript illuminations in their saturated colors, pictorial backgrounds, and concern for details. This collection forms a distinctive and impressive group, numbering in the hundreds and ranging from sophisticated, European-influenced examples to naive, local efforts. This volume is the result of the generous patronage, diligent study, and sustained interest of a host of donors, scholars, staff members of the Gibbes Museum of Art, funding agencies, and friends of the museum.
Martha R. Severens, an art historian, served as curator of the Gibbes Museum of Art, USA. Charles L. Wyrick, Jr., is on the Gibbes Museum of Art board of directors and previously served as the museum director.