(b. 1675, Venezia, d. 1757, Venezia)
Young Girl Holding a Monkeyc. 1721
Pastel on blue paper, 63 x 48 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Rosalba Carriera painted - it would be no less true to say that she drew - with pastel crayons on softly tinted paper. Pastel colours are rubbed dry on to grainy paper in the form of a soft, powdery pigment with little in the way of binder, and they stick to the paper as a layer of coloured dust. As pastel colours can hardly be mixed by applying them on top of each other on the paper itself, the colour richness is created mainly through the juxtaposition of the powdered pigment. The palette of crayons has to be correspondingly elaborate. But the rubbed pastel never had a lasting quality. However, the 'jeunesse dorée,' the aristocratic mistresses and the notorious courtesans all laid siege to Signora Carriera's studio, because the portraitist knew how occasionally to enrich the external charm of skin and costume with penetrating, characterful and emotional elements.
The sitter of this portrait, painted by Carriera during his stay in Paris in 1720-21, is the daughter of the financier John Law (1672-1729).