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Rosalba Carriera

Painter and pastel artist

Born
1675 in Venice
Died
1757 in Venice

One Work by Rosalba Carriera

Biography

Trained under the painters Giuseppe Diamantini (1621-1705) and Federico Bencovich (1677-1753), Rosalba Carriera appears to have first painted snuff boxes and small miniatures on oval ivory panels. As the portrait of Antonio Maria Zanetti in Stockholm (Nationalmuseum) attests, which is documented by letters, by around 1700 she was already producing pastels. Soon her clients were mainly English, French, and German visitors in Venice. Early on, she executed a large number of miniatures and pastels for Johann Wilhelm von der Pfalz, who invited her to Düsseldorf in 1706, but without success. For Cosimo III de' Medici she produced in 1708 a self-portrait for his collection of artists' self-portraits (Uffizi). An important patron was Christian Cole, secretary to the English ambassador in Venice, who sent numbers of English travellers her way. Contact with France came by way of the banker and art collector Pierre Crozat (1665-1740), who invited her to Paris in 1719. Together with her mother, her sisters, and her brother-in-law Antonio Pellegrini (1675-1741), she journeyed there in 1720 and stayed as a guest in Crozat's house in the Rue de Richelieu until the spring of 1721. In 1723 she accepted an invitation to Modena and the court of Finaldo d'Este, and in 1731 she followed another to the imperial court of Charles VI in Vienna, where she produced portraits of the imperial family and members of the aristocracy. Among her last dated works are the series of the 'Four Elements', commissioned between 1744 and 1746 by Francesco Algarotti for Frederick Augustus II of Saxony (King Augustus III of Poland), among them the famous 'Self-Portrait as Winter'. Augustus II was Rosalba's greatest collector. He owned more than a hundred of her pastels, which were exhibited in a special cabinet. Despite major losses, Dresden's Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister still preserves a large number of her works.

Persons connected to Rosalba Carriera