Three Women - Rosalba (afternoon)
Rosalba Carriera and the Power of Pastel
By the middle of the 18th Century around 2,500 artists were said to be working in pastel in Paris alone – the technique had gained a celebrity of its own. By this time Rosalba Carriera was approaching the end of her long and rewarding life, but she had been the first artist to make a name for herself internationally because of her skill in this, the most intractable of techniques. From a humble background in Venice, her mother was involved in the manufacture of lace, and Rosalba’s artistic career started by designing patterns for her mother. She progressed to decorating the lids of snuff-boxes, and then to portraiture. Her success is marked by her membership of the Roman Accademia di San Luca, her portraits of King Louis XV in Paris, and the enormous collection of her work established by Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, whom she visited in Vienna. Throughout, her home remained in Venice, where she became one of the go-to portraitists for the Grand Tourists. As well as looking at her life and career, we will discover more about the pastel technique and its history.