How many artworks can one artist fit into the eye of a needle? The question might sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but it's a legitimate query for the master of miniatures, Nikolai Aldunin. The Russian artist specializes in minuscule sculptures so tiny that he needs a microscope to create them. Using superglue, syringes and a whole lot of patience, he's able to fit seven camels, three palm trees and more into a very small space.
Aldunin's microscopic artwork is inspired by a famous Russian tale about a left-handed man named Levsha whose claim to craftsman fame is that he can fashion horseshoes on a fly. In his miniature masterpieces, Aldunin not only matched Levsha's abilities, he exceeded them -- by creating a tiny saddle and stirrups to match his fly's shoes. (Scroll down for images)
The homages to Russian lore continue throughout his work. He's engraved a portrait of Leo Tolstoy on a grain of rice and created a barely-there replica of a Russian samovar that's smaller than a granule of sugar. He's also spent weeks tirelessly melding a small, 24-piece model of an AK-47 or "Kalashnikov," the post-war weapon famously designed by Soviet lieutenant general, Mikhail Kalashnikov.
If you are feeling motivated to embark on your own career in tiny works of art, Aldunin has proffered some advice. "You musn't get into a state or worry," he stated to TIME Magazine. "Everything that you feel in your soul is transmitted to your hands."
Scroll through the slideshow below for more of the miniaturist's work as well as video of just how he makes his sculptures so small. Let us know what you think in the comments section.