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Rosalba Carriera

Inspirational Women: Rosalba Carriera, the extraordinary 18th century Venetian portrait painter 🎨

Born in Venice in 1673, the daughter of a clerk and a lace maker, Carriera began her artistic career painting miniatures for the lids of snuff boxes and she was the first painter to use ivory instead of vellum for this purpose.

Gradually her work evolved and by 1703 she completed her first portraits for which she pioneered the use of pastel (previously only used for sketches, not serious portraiture).

In 1720, Rosalba travelled to Paris where her portraits were in great demand. Her work contributed to form the new tastes of the time and her flattering yet realistic style and soft colours were injected into the Rococo style which soon dominated the arts. She also travelled to the Imperial Court in Vienna and Augustus III of Poland amassed more than 150 of her pastels.

Rosalba suffered the loss of her vision in later years (which might have been damaged by miniature painting in her youth). She underwent two unsuccessful cataract surgeries and ended up losing her vision completely. She spent her last years in a little house in Venice, where she died at the age of 84 in 1757.

Rosalba Carriera was one of a small number women to make a highly successful international career as an artist in the 18th century and she inspired us to create a necklace and earring SET in her beloved White and Aqua colours, with 5-6mm White pearls and Aqua coloured crystals.

📷 Self Portrait, Uffizi Gallery Florence
📷 Self Portrait (as Winter), Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden
📷 Summer, Bemberg Foundation, Toulouse
📷 Gustavus Hamilton (Viscount Boyne), Christie’s
📷 Young Lady with a Parrot, Art Institute of Chicago
📷 Bonnie Prince Charlie, National Gallery of Scotland
📷 Female portrait with mask, Fondazione Cariplo

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