I had just finished decorating my tree and was gazing at it when I thought about a topic for this week’s Artz. I wondered if tinsel would come up in a search and sure enough I got Tinsel Painting.
Tinsel Painting was a decorative art that was popular in America from about 1830 to 1890. Only the wealthy, who were seeking a refined education for their daughters, could afford to pay for this training.
Tinsel Painting, Wreath of flowers. ca. 1875.
It has roots in an art form dating back to the Italian Renaissance. Tinsel Paintings are reverse paintings on glass with crumpled or smooth colored foil applied to areas on the glass that are clear or unpainted. When viewed before candlelight the effect adds shimmering highlights to the painting.
Tinsel Painting: Wreath, Birds, and Daguerreotype, Artist unidentified, 1855 - 1865
Think about this a moment, it is 1846 and you need foil. It was not like there was a roll in the pantry or up the road at Safeway. By this time drug stores were using foil to wrap creams. Confectioners were using it to wrap bon-bons and the Marines were using an experimental cartridge made of foil designed by Colt.
Tinsel Painting was considered a safe past time for wives and daughters as it kept their minds on the home as they created. Many of the pieces created commemorated events in the lives of these women; a marriage, a birth, an event, a friendship are just some of the subjects these beautiful works are about.
Enjoy Tinsel Artz Painting.