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After Rosalba Carriera, Rosalba Carriera

Key facts
Full title Rosalba Carriera
Artist After Rosalba Carriera
Artist dates 1673 - 1757
Date made 18th century
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 57.6 × 39.4 cm
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3127
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Rosalba Carriera
After Rosalba Carriera

Rosalba Carriera was one of a small number of women to make a highly successful international career as an artist in the eighteenth century. A native of Venice, she began by painting portrait miniatures on ivory, but by the time she was in her twenties she was attracting an international clientele for her pastel portraits.

This oil painting is based on a celebrated pastel self portrait that she made in old age (Royal Collection, Windsor), though the palette here is more subdued. Carriera is shown as composed and sophisticated, and our eye is drawn to the sparkle of her earring. There are subtle variations in the textures of her clothing, from the smoothly blended fur of the coat to the crisp lace collar and headwear.

The original pastel was probably gifted to Joseph Smith – British consul in Venice between 1738 and 1762, and one of Carriera’s major patrons – in around 1745. It was then purchased, along with much of Smith’s collection, by George III in 1762.

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