Mementos: Painted and Photographic Miniatures, 1750-1920

June 17, 2011 – May 13, 2012

National Portrait Gallery
8th and G Streets, NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor, American Origins

See on Map Floor Plan

The word "miniature" was originally associated with the creation of small images and portraits. Tiny, often expensive likenesses—requiring a highly trained artist with good eyesight and a steady hand—were often made as mementos, love tokens, or memorials that could be kept close to the body. Their carefully worked metal housings were often bracelets, pendants, or brooches with glass coverings to protect the surface of the paintings. This exhibition showcases 23 of the museum's collection of miniature portraits and includes portraits of John Paul Jones, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, and Samuel Clemens, by artists as varied as John Singleton Copley, William Dunlap, George Caleb Bingham, Eulabee Dix, and Lucy May Stanton.