Amazing Places

You Need a Microscope to See the Sculptures in the Micro Wonder Museum

Szentendre, Hungary is a big museum town. Located 30 minutes north of Budapest, the place was once an artists' colony, but has since attracted throngs of tourists for its huge art scene. One of its most distinctive attractions might be hard to spot, however — and that's not just because it's off the beaten path. It's because its exhibits are so small, you need to view them with a microscope.

Through the Looking Glass

The small, one-room Micro Wonder Museum might seem unassuming, but that's before you take a closer look. Gaze through the lens of each microscope, and you'll see works that are nothing short of miraculous. A chess board on the head of a pin. Sculptures of birds "nesting" in a poppy seed. A 12-page book measuring just over half a millimeter tall.

There are symbols, like a golden Coca-Cola bottle and a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, and artistic representations, like an archer in a chariot and a set of goblets placed on a grain of sugar. Perhaps the most breathtaking is a diorama of Ancient Egypt, complete with pyramids, camels, and a palm tree, all placed in the eye of a needle. Yes, the artist literally put a camel through the eye of a needle.

The artistic details are one thing, but just how small these pieces are is what really boggles the mind. "It's only when you remove your eye from the scope and try to see the work with the naked eye that you realise the magnitude of his work," writes Wilk Vatroslawski for Slavorum.

Don't Breathe

The museum displays just over a dozen works by Ukranian artist Mykola Syadristy, whose art features in only two other museums, both in Russia. To create these striking miniatures, Syadristy built a 50-micron electromotor — that's 20 times smaller than a poppy seed, easily making it the world's smallest.

While he works, Syadrisky even has to keep his breathing and heartbeat under control to avoid disturbing the delicate creations. "I insist on a specific internal rhythm," he told Marie Claire Hungary in Hungarian. "I strive to make the next step between the two drums of my heart with the tool. In that case my pulse is noticeably slowed down. My thoughts and movement are accompanied by willpower and self-confident self-indulgence." The result is an ornate work of art you wouldn't even notice if you held it between your fingers.

Special Exhibition of Mykola Syadristy's Works in Istanbul

Written by Ashley Hamer March 1, 2018

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