The birth of the technique
Miniatures on ivory first appeared in the eighteenth century. While they present stylistic variations depending on where and when they were executed, in general the technique is relatively uniform. Old treatises describe them as painting in gouache, a term that covers water-based pigments on ivory...
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El nacimiento de la técnica
Support, ivory panels
The small panels of ivory were made by cutting the tusk longitudinally, for which reason its width determined the diameter of the sheet. The largest ivory panel in the Prado's collection is the Portrait of the Infanta Luisa Carlota by Luis de la Cruz y Ríos,...
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El soporte, láminas de marfil
The paint layer
Miniaturists began their portraits with a preparatory drawing. Various examples in pencil have been encountered but it is not easy to access them as on some occasions they are concealed beneath the paint while in other cases they were executed with a brush in the same technique and using the same pigments as the miniature itself...
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La técnica pictórica
Frames
The frame is important for the preservation of a miniature as it acts as a protective and stable environment. All the Prado's miniatures are framed although many of the frames are not original and a large number have been subsequently altered. It is common to find pieces of paper, card or cloth that fill in the space at the back and fix the miniature into the frame...
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Los marcos
 
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