This stunning new volume is the first accessibly written, illustrated, English-language biography of Rosalba Carriera, one of the most famous women artists in eighteenth-century Europe.
Born in Venice in 1673 to a lawyer and a lace maker, Rosalba Carriera began her career painting decorative objects and rose to international renown as a portraitist in Italy, Germany, France, and England. In 1757 she died nearly blind from cataracts, a tragic end for a painter acclaimed for exquisite miniatures and innovative pastels. During the 1700s she was deemed “the most talented female artist of our century,” so famous that she was referred to by her first name only. Today, however, she is little known outside Venice, despite the attribution to her of more than seven hundred surviving artworks.
This accessibly written, gorgeously illustrated biography surveys Carriera’s career, considering her miniatures alongside better-known works of larger scale. Interpreting her oeuvre against the historical context of her experience as a single woman in Venice, the book takes readers through the full arc of her life, including the people she met, her clients, and her artistic approach. Author Angela Oberer’s original iconographic analysis of some of Carriera’s work reveals that she was an erudite painter who drew on antiquity as well as Renaissance precedents such as Leonardo da Vinci and Paolo Veronese. Published in conjunction with the 350th anniversary of her birth, this book is a long overdue tribute to an important and prolific artist.
Angela Oberer is a lecturer in art history with a PhD from the Technische Universität Berlin. She has written and lectured extensively on the work of Rosalba Carriera.
“In this beautifully produced volume, Angela Oberer presents an engaging picture of the inherent sociability that animated the art of Rosalba Carriera and its phenomenal success across Europe. Moreover, the author’s descriptions capture the sensuous haptic appeal of the miniatures and pastels that captivated her patrons and visitors, thereby extending their implied intimacy to viewers and readers today.” —Tracy Cooper, Professor of Art History, Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University
“Angela Oberer offers a fresh perspective on the pastels and miniatures of Rosalba Carriera, one of the most famous female artists of the 18th century. She also convincingly presents Carriera’s strategies for asserting herself as a woman in the male-dominated art world in a new light from today’s perspective.” —Roland Enke, Deputy Director of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden