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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Art Review

Miniature, loving commemorations

Worcester Art Museum exhibits early 19th-century portraits made to mark life’s landmarks

WORCESTER — Here’s a tiny exhibition: Eleven miniature portraits in a gallery the size of a closet. The gallery is dim until you step inside, when motion sensors light up the diminutive paintings, made in watercolor on thin sheets of ivory. They pull you in, almost magnetically; they’re luminous, and so small you have to get close to see the extraordinary detail.

Before the advent of photography, many families had miniatures made to commemorate events and remember loved ones. “Bostonians in Miniature: Portraits and Lives: 1810-1835” at the Worcester Art Museum offers up a handful of these small jewels, and the stories behind them.

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