Museum of Miniatures in Prague.

See a Flea Wearing Custom Horseshoes at the Museum of Miniatures

See a Flea Wearing Custom Horseshoes at the Museum of Miniatures

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Feb. 25 2015 8:08 AM

The Museum of Miniatures, Where Art Is Tiny but Mighty

A flea wearing horseshoes and holding a padlock and key.

Photo: Grammaticus Bramlington/Creative Commons

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The Museum of Miniatures in Prague features the tiny works of micro-miniaturist artist Anatolij Konenko, viewed via microscope.

Born in Omsk, Siberia, Konenko is one of only a handful of professional micro-miniaturists around the world. His work ranges from “standards” like Matisse’s “The Dance” on a sliver of mammoth bone to more whimsical creations like a caravan of camels parading with ease through a needle’s eye.


Konenko always takes an object we can identify—a seed, an insect, a needle, a hair—and breathes life into it. Certainly the objects are there to give a reference for scale, but they are also part of a dance. The micro-miniaturist allows himself to be inspired by the object, to play with the idea of the object, and change the way we view it. For example, one of the most spectacular pieces by Konenko is a flea, his feet clad with horseshoes, and his hands wielding a tiny pair of scissors, a key and a padlock.

To create a minuscule pair of scissors, Konenko, like most micro-miniaturists, invented his own instruments, some of which have been used in eye surgeries. As with other micro-miniaturists, he could only work between his heartbeats, for fear of the slight tremor destroying his precious work.

Camels walking through the eye of a needle.

Photo: Alistair Young/Creative Commons

More miniature works around the world: