(b. 1699, Paris, d. 1779, Paris)
Self-Portrait with an Eyeshade1775
Pastel on blue paper, 46 x 38 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
The success of pastel portrait, introduced by Rosalba Carriera around 1720, fully corresponded to the cult makeup (preparing the sitter with cosmetics), for they provided Maurice Quentin de La Tour with a perfect, powdery medium for recording the vague smiles and expressions, the soft grace and irony of his aristocratic sitters. In contrast, the dense strong and personal pastels by Chardin constitute an exception to the rule, by an artist who rejected convention.