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Eye Miniatures

Eye Miniatures
Photo by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The stolen glance, the perfumed note, the pulse-quickening moment in passing: Whatever one’s opinion of the digital age, there are aspects of romance that seem permanently relegated to the past (not to decry the value of a well-composed lover’s text, but the pinging iPhone lacks a certain sensuality).

Late 18th- to early 19th-century Brits did their wooing with style—lovers who wanted to keep their passions secret exchanged jewelry with images of one another’s eyes, keepsakes of delicious intimacy and impressive artistry. This exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts includes lockets, rings, and even toothpick cases as a testament to long-gone flames and love’s undying aspects.

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