Subtle art born under the microscope

Train of camels through eye of a needle and Maradona’s T-shirt on a poppy seed
By Marina Semenova

Miracle Under the Microscope, by Vladimir Aniskin, is designed to boggle the imagination. On show at the House Museum of the 1st Congress of RSDRP in Minsk, the amazing works are all tiny, visible in detail only with a microscope.  A physicist by profession, Mr. Aniskin spends his free time steeped in a miniature world. 

The smallest Russian nesting doll, lily-of-the-valleys made from particles of dust and other ‘miniature wonders’ are on show at the exhibition.

Icon just 1cm in size 
“No more than 10 such micro miniature experts exist worldwide, like Aniskin,” admits Andrey Lenevich, a research officer at the museum. “Each has their own individual skills of course.” Minsk is currently hosting 29 works by Mr. Aniskin, including the ‘Icon of St. Matrona of Moscow’ – being exhibited for the first time to the public. Just 6-8mm in size, it was blessed in church last month.

Some millimetres — for some years
Vladimir Aniskin has been absorbed in his ‘subtle art’ for 15 years now, having begun by inscribing New Year wishes to his mother on a glazed rice kernel. He uses superfine tools, and works between breaths and heartbeats, having learned not only to handle his minute equipment but to time his breath with his heartbeats. One false move can ruin all! 

In spite of his experience, it still takes him a great many months to produce a single micro-miniature. ‘Chess Table’ and ‘UEFA Cup’ were most challenging, taking 6 months each. It took 41 attempts to make his ‘UEFA Cup’. His rose on the end of a horse’s hair (0.2mm diameter) is also marvelous, with stalk and leaves made from particles of green powder. Seeing with your own eyes is preferable to reading of these marvels; your amazement will be certain.
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