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An imprecise term sometimes used to describe the anonymous colonial- and federal-era painters who worked in predominately linear styles. These included artists who extended the Elizabethan tradition, such as the Freake Painter, as well as those who simplified the volumetric Baroque manner, such as the Gansevoort Limner, a Patroon painter. The word derives from an English corruption of “illuminator,” or manuscript illustrator. Beginning in the sixteenth century, it designated painters of miniatures, but came to be applied to artists who undertook larger works in a similar style.

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