We humans are fascinated by big stuff; The Great Wall, The Great Pyramid, The Duomo in Florence. The list goes on. Big stuff is wonderful. But consider the opposite for a moment, the small stuff. Not nanotechnology. That’s just too small for most of us to understand. Think small scale. Think 1 inch equals 1 foot, 1/12th scale.
The scene above could be right out of an early colonial house in New England, probably Connecticut of Massachusetts. Pewterware, Carver chairs, rag rug, leaded window panels, spinning wheel, child’s chair by the hearth; all remind us of life in early America.
The fact is that if you wear size 12 shoes, they would fill up this entire room. This is one of the Thorne Miniature Rooms from the Art Institute of Chicago. Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago engaged master craftsmen (and women) from around the world to construct 68 miniature room interiors between 1932 and 1940.
The architectural detail, decoration and construction of the furnishings and everyday items is absolutely stunning. The rag rug in the room above is actually braided. All of the collection can be viewed on line. But actually seeing them is really incredible. I remember thinking that Gulliver must have felt this way and I kept waiting for several Lilliputians to enter the scene.
When you begin to examine the work that fine miniaturists produce, it becomes clear that it takes every bit as much skill (maybe more) to produce things that are very small as it does to produce things that are very large. Perhaps, just a little less time.
If you can get to the Art Institute of Chicago, get there and be amazed. If you can’t get to Chicago, take the “virtual tour.” You’ll be very glad that you did.
And remember, as I’ve been telling my wife for years, bigger is not always better.
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