Rosalba Carriera (October 7, 1675 – April 15, 1757) was a Venetian Rococo painter. In her younger years, she specialized in portrait miniatures. She later became known for her pastel work, a medium appealing to Rococo styles for its soft edges and flattering surfaces.
Born in Venice with two sisters , Rosalba Carriera was a prominent and greatly admired portrait artist of the Italian Rococo. Her family was from the lower-middle-class in Venice, and as a child, she began her artistic career by making lace-patterns for her mother, who was engaged in that trade. Others claim that she received initial instruction in oil technique from the undistinguished Venetian painter Giuseppe Diamantini As snuff-taking became popular, Carriera began painting miniatures for the lids of snuff-boxes, and was the first painter to use ivory for this purpose. Gradually, this work evolved into portrait-painting, for which she pioneered the exclusive use of pastel. Prominent foreign visitors to Venice, young sons of the nobility on the grand tour and diplomats for example, clamoured to be painted by her. The portraits of her early period include those of Maximilian II of Bavaria; Frederick IV of Denmark; the 12 most beautiful Venetian court ladies; the "Artist and her Sister Naneta" (Uffizi); and August the Strong of Saxony, who acquired a large collection of her pastels. By 1721, during Carriera's first trip to Paris, portraits by her were in great demand. While in Paris, as a guest of the great amateur and art collector, Pierre Crozat. She painted Watteau, all the royalty and nobility from the King and Regent downwards, and was elected a member of the Academy by acclamation. Her brother-in-law, the esteemed painter Antonio Pellegrini, married to her sister Angela, was also in Paris that year. Pellegrini was employed by John Law, a British financier and adventurer, to paint the ceiling of the Grand Salle in Law's new Bank building.