The Life and Work of Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757)
The Life and Work of Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757)
The Queen of Pastel
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Table of Contents
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List of Figures


1 Rosalba Carriera - An Independent Single Artist in Eighteenth-Century Venice
Carriera's Early Years
Influential Friends
The Beginning of a Career: Carriera, an Exceptional Venetian Miniature Painter
Carriera's Membership in the Accademia di San Luca in Rome
A New Reading of Carriera's World en miniature
Carriera's Portrait of Philip Wharton (1698-1731)
Carriera's Daring Eroticism
The Young Gardener in Munich
Miniature Mythologies
Carriera and the Sister Arts
Carriera's Lady Putting Flowers in her Hair
Carriera's Clients of Erotic Art

2 Carriera's Discovery of Pastel Painting
A Short History of Pastel Painting
Successful Ambassador of a Neglected Technique. Carriera in the Art World of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Venice

3 Carriera's International Network
Attacked by the British
Carriera and the French
German Travellers on the Grand Tour
The Italianate Climate in Düsseldorf
The House of Wittelsbach
The Importance of 'Owning a Carriera'

4 Carriera's Stay in Paris
Carriera's Admittance into the Académie de Peinture et de Sculpture

5 Carriera's Oeuvre in Pastel
Carriera's Portraits within the Venetian Tradition
From Unifying Formula to Character Studies
The Importance of 'Being a Carriera'
Carriera's 'Galleries of Beauty'
Character Studies and Erotica
Carriera's Favourite Pupil, Felicita Sartori
Carriera's Young Lady with a Parrot
Portrait or Allegory?
Mythological Subjects
The Reception of Carriera's Erotic Pastels
Carriera's Religious Works for Dresden

6 The Single Woman, the Spinster

7 Carriera's Last Journeys - The End of an Enviable Career
Carriera in Modena
Carriera in Vienna
The End of an Enviable Career

8 Carriera's Ways of Self-Fashioning
Carriera's House on the Grand Canal, a Fashionable Space of Self-Representation
Self-Fashioning through Self-Portraits
Carriera's Earliest Self-Portrait
Carriera's Self-Portrait in the Uffizi
Carriera's Self-Portrait as Winter in Dresden, 1730-31
Carriera's Self-Portrait in Old Age in Windsor Castle, c.1744
Carriera's Self-Portrait in the Accademia in Venice, 1746



Index of Names

Reviews and Features

"Angela Oberer has produced a study that is enjoyable to read, that is thoughtful and informative, and that is fully engaged with both historical materials and a wide array of scholarly sources. Carriera has regularly appeared in studies of women artists, but the construction of her celebrity in the eighteenth century has rarely been explored so thoroughly."
- Kathleen Nicholson, University of Oregon, Early Modern Women, Vol. 16 No. 2 (Spring 2022)

"Oberer deserves credit for her careful, painstaking revisionism. She has succeeded in assembling, mapping, and making accessible Rosalba Carriera’s substantial international networks and accounting for her numerous artistic achievements."
- Melissa Percival, University of Exeter, Journal18 (June 2021)

"In art historical scholarship, especially material published in English, Carriera and her work have been neglected in ways that the Grand Tourist from the 1720s, competing to gain a sitting with this famous Venetian artist, might struggle to comprehend. As the first monograph on Rosalba Carriera to be published in English, this new study goes some way to address this lacuna."
- Rosie Razzall, Curator of Prints and Drawings at Royal Collection Trust, Windsor Castle, Woman’s Art Journal, vol. 42, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2021)

"This new study admirably sets out to bring Carriera’s achievement to a wider audience, and makes a significant contribution to the study of women artists of the 18th century in the context of society’s gendered expectations."
- Christopher Baker, director of European and Scottish Art and Portraiture at the National Galleries of Scotland, Apollo Magazine, Autumn 2020

"Who was the most celebrated Italian artist of the 18th century? A good case can be made for the miniaturist and portraitist in pastel, Rosalba Carriera. [...] Given the current intense interest in women artists, it is surprising how little attention has been paid to her. But Oberer’s thorough and scholarly study makes up for that neglect."
- Martin Gayford, Royal Academy Magazine, Autumn 2020

"Rosalba Carriera was the Queen of Pastel. [...] Now, with the release of a biography in English, maybe Carriera’s art historical value will match a bit of the esteem she commanded in her lifetime."
- Karen Chernick, Hyperallergic, Autumn 2020

Angela Oberer

The Life and Work of Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757)

The Queen of Pastel

The Life and Work of Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757): The Queen of Pastel is the first extensive biographical narrative in English of Rosalba Carriera. It is also the first scholarly investigation of the external and internal factors that helped to create this female painter's unique career in eighteenth-century Europe. It documents the difficulties, complications, and consequences that arose then -- and can also arise today -- when a woman decides to become an independent artist. This book contributes a new, in-depth analysis of the interplay between society's expectations, generally accepted codices for gendered behaviour, and one single female painter's astute strategies for achieving success, as well as autonomy in her professional life as a famed artist. Some of the questions that the author raises are: How did Carriera manage to build up her career? How did she run her business and organize her own workshop? What kind of artist was Carriera? Finally, what do her self-portraits reveal in terms of self-enactment and possibly autobiographical turning points?

Angela Oberer

Angela Oberer teaches art history at Georgetown University, Florence, at AIFS, at CEA, at CET which is associated with Vanderbilt University, and at other programs that work with colleges and universities from all over the USA.