Small Sculptures / Miniatures

Small sculptures and miniatures have a long tradition in art. These oldest known sculptures created by people in the Stone Age are only a few centimetres in size. Even today, miniature sculpture remains an independent discipline.

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Small Sculptures / Miniatures

Small Sculptures and Miniatures: Small Works of Art With a Great Impact

When talking about sculptures, abstract sculptures or statues, you might at first think of larger, if not room-sized objects. However, the first sculptures were created in smaller sizes. The oldest known art objects are only a few centimetres in size. For example, the famous mini sculpture "Venus of Willendorf", which is about 30,000 years old, measures only 11 centimetres. The "Venus of the Hohle Fels" made of mammoth ivory, which was found in the Swabian Alb and is estimated to be 35,000 to 40,000 years old, is also only six centimetres tall. Even though sculptures became increasingly larger throughout the course of human and art history, smaller objects prevailed in arts and crafts. For example, among the ancient Greeks, small figures were commonly used as burial offerings, and Celts and Germanic tribes created compact sculptures in bronze and gold. During the Renaissance and the Rococo, artfully crafted figures were part of every interior in the upper classes, and even today small sculpture remains an independent artistic discipline. There are even associations and societies devoted exclusively to small-scale art and organising exhibitions, for example, the "Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society" in the USA, founded in 1931, or the "Royal Miniature Society" in Great Britain. Every three years since 1980, the major exhibition "Triennale Kleinplastik" in Fellbach, Swabia, Germany, has been held on the subject of miniature sculpture in Germany.

Charm and Characteristics of Small Sizes

While there is no objective or binding definition of what may be called a miniature or small sculpture, a frequently used definition suggests that a work of art must fit in the palm of the hand or cover less than 100 square centimetres. However, more important than centimetre specifications are the aspects that set small sculptures apart. The main difference between them and many larger sculptures is that they can be grasped with a single glance. The filigree artisanship of many small sculptures also exerts a very special fascination. Small sculptures offer practical advantages, often fitting in spaces where larger objects wouldn't, such as on a desk or shelf. Moreover, with miniatures or reductions of famous sculptures, you can bring these artworks into your living room or office even if you have little space.

Miniatures and Small Sculptures at ars mundi

A small sculpture or small statue is an eye-catcher on any desk, living room table or dresser. At ars mundi, you can buy an extensive selection of miniatures. In our online shop, we have curated a diverse selection of small objects for you - from reductions of famous sculptures and motifs to independent works of art in miniature format.