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Rosalba Carriera

Portrait of Madame Lethieullier

Artist

Rosalba Carriera
Chioggia, Italy, 1675 – Venice 1757

Title

Portrait of Madame Lethieullier

Date

1739

Materials

Pastel on cardboard

Dimensions

60.4 x 46.9 cm

Credits

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, inv. 2013.420

Collection

Graphic Arts

In this flattering portrait, typical of Rosalba Carriera’s work, the sitter is shown in a three-quarter pose with a sprig of white flowers tied with a blue ribbon and adorned with a gem in an “en tremblant” setting, which meant the jewel “trembled” when the wearer moved. Her porcelain complexion and bosom call to mind the charm of Carriera’s miniatures. Portraying the sensuous pleasures of the most elegant feminine charm, the artist had the skill to create a delightfully pearly air through a bluish sfumato fringing the outlines of the figure.


Her style, whose gossamer refinement was facilitated by the exclusive use of pastel, lent itself wonderfully to the depiction of fashionable society. Lovers of art and curios among the aristocrats of Europe hastened to find their way to her Venice studio in order to have their portraits made as a souvenir of their Grand Tour. However, Carriera’s renown would come to extend beyond Italy’s borders. Invited to stay in Paris, in 1721 she was admitted to France’s Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture.

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