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Superstar in Dresden: exhibition shows portrait art by Rosalba Carriera

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Superstar in Dresden: exhibition shows portrait art by Rosalba Carriera

Dresden in pastel: Exhibition on Rosalba Carriera

Born in Venice in 1673, Rosalba Carriera’s profession was pastel painting, a relatively young artistic genre at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century. In doing so, she occupied a niche, about whose artistic training almost nothing is known. Because: At that time, chalk pencils were mostly used for drawings or preliminary drawings.

However, Rosalba Carriera perfected this technique and no longer just used mere lines, as the curator of the exhibition, Roland Enke, describes:

“She also put these lines, maybe a lot next to each other, but then rubbed these lines in with her hand or a leather pad so that they were no longer perceptible as a line, but became a surface. And then she put a different color on top and a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, in order to then achieve a corresponding color of a background, a coat and also the skin. That is in principle the painterly aspect. That is why these pastels are also in our picture gallery.”

Europe’s nobility sat at Rosalba Carriera portrait

The secret of her success was also due to the fact that in her portraits, art and nature came extremely close, in fact they were almost identical. The beauty ideal of the Rococo with the pale, artificially made-up faces, the powdered hair and wigs found its ideal counterpart in the powdery surface of the pastels, as Enke explains further: “Then this fashion factor came along with the fact that you had a star on the wall or was able to be portrayed by such a person. And it was really the case that during her stays in Paris and Vienna she couldn’t keep up with all the orders.”

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The people portrayed in the exhibition included the Archduchess and later Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, as well as singers and dancers who were celebrated throughout Europe. One of her greatest admirers was probably the Saxon prince Friedrich August II, son of Augustus the Strong.

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