|Rosalba Carriera "Self Portrait Holding a Picture of her Sister" 1715 Uffizi Gallery|
Rosalba Carriera (1675-1757) was an internationally acclaimed and admired portrait artist of the Italian Rococo. Her family was from the lower-middle-class in Venice, and it is said that she began her artistic career as a child by making lace patterns for her mother, who was engaged in the lacemaking trade. Perhaps as a result of her earliest training Carriera had an unusual ability to represent textures and patterns, faithfully re-creating rich fabrics, gold braid, lace, jewelry and furs, which showed off the opulent and materialistic life-style of her wealthy patrons.
It is not known definitively with whom she studied, but Carriera began painting snuff box lids, which were all the rage at this period, and gradually evolved from these tiny painted miniatures on ivory into making larger sized portraits with pastel. In fact she was one of the pioneers of the pastel portrait in the 18th century and was respected by the other great artists of her day such as Antoine Watteau who famously posed for Carriera in the last year of his life. That same year, in 1721, Carriera was elected to the French Royal Academy.
Rosalba Carriera "Allegory of Painting" ca. 1720 National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.