Location: Nelson-Atkins Buidling, Gallery P27
Unlike the casual snapshots of today, in the past more formal representations of individuals were commissioned from artists in the form of portrait miniatures, conveniently allowing images of loved ones to be kept close at hand.
Whether a portrait is painted or captured with a camera, the sitter has most likely made an effort to look as attractive and well-dressed as possible. Men don their best suits, while women appear with their finest dresses and the latest hairstyles.
The sitter was presented in the most flattering and favorable light, and the settings of 17th- to 19th-century miniature portraits were often embellished with pearls and faux gemstones or placed in rings.
Image: Charles Forrest, Irish, act. 1765-1785. Portrait of Juliana Wallace, 1776. Watercolor on ivory in brass mount with enamel, 1 3/8 x 1 1/4 inches (3.49 x 3.18 cm). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Starr and the Starr Foundation, Inc.