Rosalba Carriera

  • 1673 - 1757
  • Artist
  • Italian

Rosalba Carriera, raised in a modest Venetian family, began her eminent career painting miniature portraits on ivory to decorate the inside of snuffbox lids. Her subjects focused on the everyday activities of women and mythological themes connected with women's lives.

After painting a pastel portrait of the printmaker Antonio Maria Zanetti, for which she achieved considerable fame, Carriera received commissions from England's influential ambassador in Venice, Christian Cole, first duke of Manchester. Carriera was admitted to the Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1705. As her career progressed, Carriera's luminous pastel portraits took on a more personal style. Subtly blended colors and an interest in rendering the sitter's inner psychology gradually began to characterize her work.

While the guest of French banker Pierre Crozat in Paris, she created portraits of Louis XV as a child and other members of the French aristocracy and court. While there, she developed a friendship with Antoine Watteau, who had a significant impact on her work. She, in turn, had a formative influence on Maurice-Quentin Delatour, Jean-Etienne Liotard, and other important pastel painters. King George III collected her works, and Frederick-Augustus II, elector of Saxony, filled a room in his Dresden palace with more than one hundred of her pastels.