Rosalba Carriera (1673–1757), the main representative of the Venetian Rococo portrait and one of the few women painters with an enviable international artistic career in the 18th century, is one of the most prominent artists of all time. Due to her mastery in painting miniatures on ivory, she was admitted in 1705 to the Academy of St Luke in Rome as an honorary member. Her miniatures were extremely popular as souvenirs among the European nobility who visited Venice while on the Grand Tour.
Carriera excelled in the pastel medium, and her sensual and virtuoso portraits became as popular among European nobles and educated persons as oil paintings. When she travelled to Paris in 1720 and was admitted to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, she was named "the Queen of Pastel". Her fame also reached Vienna, where in 1730 she painted a portrait of Empress Wilhelmine Amalie, the wife of Joseph I.
The portrait of Daniele Antonio Bertoli (1678–1743) was probably painted in the same year. Bertoli, born in Friuli, became the court draftsman of Emperor Joseph I in the early 18th century and thus an important link in the artistic exchange between Venice and Vienna. He also gave drawing classes to the members of the imperial family, including the young Maria Theresa.
The October Revelations present an exceptional opportunity, as Rosalba’s work is rarely on public view due to the sensitivity of the pastel medium and its private status.
1 October–3 November 2020
National Gallery of Slovenia