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Micropictures - Miracles of Sculpture

A Collection of 26 objects with 29 ivory carvings

Today there are to be found about 100 micropictures in museums or private property. 29 among them are part of the Connoisseur Collection.
The most famous object of this collection is the "Maria-Theresa-Brooch". 

Exhibited in the Art Chamber of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Art) in Vienna from 28 February to 3 September 2000
Exhibited in the Art Chamber of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Art) in Vienna from 28 February to 3 September 2000
 


CONNOISSEUR COLLECTION

The privately owned Connoisseur Collection is one of the most unusual art collections in the world. It consists of 29 micropictures set into 26 art objects. The significance of the collection becomes apparent when one realises that there are only about 100 of these extraordinary art cabinet pieces in museums and private collections throughout the world.

The micropictures are over 200 years old and rank among the most sensational objects ever created by the hand of the artist. As the term “micropicture” indicates, some of the details of these perforated ivory reliefs are microscopically small in scale. Thanks to their unrivalled delicacy the micropictures were often referred to as miracles or “feats of artistry”, as it seemed almost unbelievable that the human hand could execute a work of this kind. The few artists who were skilful enough to produce such “feats of artistry” were generally employed as court sculptors, and their works were popular as showpieces for art cabinets and treasure chambers. We know, for instance, that Maria Theresa, Catherine the Great and King George III owned pieces of this kind.

The best known micropictures are the three river landscapes set into the “Maria Theresa Brooch”. They were termed “the finest pictures in the world”.

A work of even greater delicacy, however, is the “Pastoral Scene” which also forms part of the Connoisseur Collection. In this landscape scene some of the branches of the trees are separated by spaces of less than a hundredth of a millimetre (0.01 mm). Even by today’s standards the execution of these microscopically small details is something of a miracle.

Exhibitions of the Connoisseur Collection were held in 2000 in the Kunstkammer (art chamber) of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Art), Vienna, and in 2001 in the Jewellery Museum in Pforzheim, Germany. In this connection a book about these works of art – “Micropictures – Miracles of Sculpture” - was published.

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