Saturday, June 6, 2009

About Eye Portraits, and Kathleen's Right Eye

Kathleen's Right Eye (in progress), 3/4" diameter, egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

enlarged view of miniature eye portrait in progress

friend, fellow artist, and blogger, Kathleen Coy, and her husband, Jason, were kind enough to loan me this photo of them as reference for my first pair of husband & wife eye portrait miniatures

Miniature eye portraits are a charming and sentimental lost art, overdue for a revival.  It is in this spirit of revival that today I begin my newest blog, Eye Portraits in Miniature.

In the past, tiny jeweled brooches, rings, pins, and pendants were the frames for a portrait of the single eye of a secret love, the idea being that if you could only see the eye it was more anonymous---an intimate form of portrait that no one can easily identify except you and your beloved.  It is said that a former Prince of Wales kept an eye portrait of his mistress which now rests in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection.  Secret loves were often the subject of miniature eye portraits, one reason that historically they are a rare find now, but some were not only for secret loves, but for a marriage partner, or to mourn a lost loved one.  Here is an interesting article on Lovers Eyes as they are sometimes also called.  

Above is my own portrait of friend, fellow artist, and blogger Kathleen Coy's right eye in progress.  I'll be showing it once more in it's final form along with my portrait of her husband's (Jason's) left eye in a future post.

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