By Hanneke Grootenboer

The finish of the eighteenth century observed the beginning of a brand new craze in Europe: tiny pix of unmarried eyes that have been exchanged by means of fans or kinfolk. Worn as brooches or pendants, those minuscule eyes served a similar emotional want as extra traditional mementoes, akin to lockets containing a coil of a enjoyed one’s hair. the style lasted just a couple of many years, and through the early 1800s eye miniatures had pale into oblivion. Unearthing those pix in Treasuring the Gaze, Hanneke Grootenboer proposes that the fad for eye miniatures—and their abrupt disappearance—reveals a knot within the unfolding of the historical past of vision.
 
Drawing on Alois Riegl, Jean-Luc Nancy, Marcia Pointon, Melanie Klein, and others, Grootenboer unravels this knot, getting to know formerly unseen styles of taking a look and methods for exhibiting. She indicates that eye miniatures painting the subject’s gaze instead of his or her eye, making the recipient of the souvenir an specific beholder who's eternally watched. those valuable pix constantly go back the appearance they obtain and, as such, they convey a reciprocal mode of viewing that Grootenboer calls intimate imaginative and prescient. Recounting tales approximately eye miniatures—including the position one performed within the scandalous affair of Mrs. Fitzherbert and the Prince of Wales, a portrait of the enchanting eye of Lord Byron, and the loss and longing integrated in crying eye miniatures—Grootenboer exhibits that intimate imaginative and prescient brings the gaze of one other deep into the center of non-public experience.
 
With a number of interesting imagery from this eccentric and usually forgotten but deeply inner most souvenir, Treasuring the Gaze offers new insights into the artwork of miniature portray and the style of portraiture.

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