Old Pastel Master: Rosalba Carriera

Rosalba Carriera (1675-1757) was one of the most successful women artists of any era. The Venetian-born Rosalba Carriera spent most of her long life fulfilling commissions for distinguished patrons at courts across 18th-century Europe. Rosalba developed an innovative approach to the medium of pastel for which she is best known today. Carriera’s greatest patron was Augustus III of Poland, who sat for her in 1713 and eventually amassed a collection of more than 150 pastels by the artist, which are currently part of the Dresden Gemäldegalerie in Germany.
Rosalba Carriera is credited with having greatly popularized the medium of pastels in France during the early 1700s; and with introducing, perhaps even instructing, the renowned French pastel artist, Maurice Quentin de la Tour, to the use of pastels as a portrait medium. Tragically, perhaps as a result of years spent straining to paint miniature portraits, her eyesight failed her the last ten years of her life. She died in 1757 at the age of 81. Along with her long-time friend, Antoine Watteau, whom she also portrayed in pastels. The two of them were considered the leading French portrait artists of the Rococo era.

www resources:
Web Gallery of Art

Some museums and art galleries:

Dresden Gemäldegalerie
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

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