Rosalba Carriera

Italian, 1675-1757

When you look at Jane’s painting you are being gazed upon by “The Great Rosalba.” This moniker reflects her stellar reputation. In a time when the aristocracy was obsessed with appearance, Rosalba’s ability to render her sitters as pretty and retain their individualism was in high demand. Her popularity as a portraitist can also be attributed to the engaging conversations she would carry on with sitters while working, and the fact that she was one of 18th-century France’s premier pastel artists. She refined the use of pastels to such an extent that the medium was elevated out of the realms of second-class material to the heights of accomplishment. The images behind her are of her patrons, to whom a sitting with Rosalba represented a crowning jewel on the grand tour of 18th-century Europe.

Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Portraits and Backgrounds: Hrotsvitha, Aphra Behn, Aisse, Rosalba Carriera (New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1971), 162. Blashfield refers to a letter which requests that Rosalba come to the court of Modena from Paris to paint the daughters of Duke Rinaldo d’Este.

Original Works Referenced

Self-portrait holding
portrait of her Sister
1715
Florence
Galleria degli Uffizi

A Young Lady
with a Parrot
c. 1730
Chicago Art Institute

Caterina Sagnedo Barbarigo
c. 1730
Private Collection

Charles Sackville
2nd Duke of Dorset
1730
Knole, Sevenoaks
Kent Collection
Lord Sackville