Rosalba Carriera (1673–1757)
Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1730–40
Pastel on paper, laid down on canvas
23 1/4 x 18 7/8 in. (59.1 x 47.8 cm)
Gift of Alexis Gregory, 2020
Photo Joseph Coscia Jr.
The preeminent artist producing pastel portraits in eighteenth-century Venice, Rosalba Carriera became so celebrated that she was known across the western world simply as “Rosalba”—a remarkable development for a woman at that time. Patrons from throughout Europe— primarily Great Britain, France, and Germany—flocked to her house and studio on the Grand Canal to be portrayed by her. The unidentified sitter in this portrait is richly dressed and wearing lavish jewelry. Rosalba followed a series of prototypes when representing her sitters, and this pastel is a characteristic work by her.