Artist of the week – Rosalba Carriera

Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757) was as artist from Venice, primarily known for her miniatures and her pastel portraits. She was one of the most famous women artists in Italy during the Rococo period, being recognised by places such as the Academy of St. Luke in Rome and the French Royal Academy (even though they’d put a ban on admitting any more women at the time). She is said to been the first artist to paint on ivory instead of velum for miniatures, and she inspired the use of pastels as a proper ‘painting’ medium (as opposed to limiting it to sketching and studies).

Her work was so in demand, that her sister Giovanna helped paint many of the hundreds of portraits that were commissioned during her time in France. Journals of her time in Paris were later published and are available online (in French).

Sadly, she outlived all of her family, and her eyesight deteriorated after 1750. Cataract surgery helped temporarily, but eventually she spent her last decade totally blind.

Self-portrait holding a portrait of her sister. Pastels on paper

Self-portrait holding a portrait of her sister (1715) Pastels on paper

Gustavus Hamilton (1710–1746), Second Viscount Boyne, in Masquerade Costume. Image © www.metmuseum.org

Gustavus Hamilton (1710–1746), Second Viscount Boyne, in Masquerade Costume. Pastels. Image © www.metmuseum.org

Les 4 saisons par ou d'après Rosalba Carriera

Les 4 saisons par ou d’après Rosalba Carriera

References

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/carriera_rosalba.html 

http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110003242?rpp=20&pg=1&ft=rosalba+carriera&pos=1

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/97038/Rosalba-Carriera

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosalba_Carriera

Women Artists: An Illustrated History, by Nancy G. Heller, Abbeville Press, 1991