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Conservation team examining pastel out of its frame
The Conservation of Rosalba Carriera’s Pastels of the Four Seasons

Learn about the conservation of a group of four pastel paintings by Rosalba Carriera

Who was Rosalba Carriera?

A Self-Portrait©

The Venetian artist Rosalba Giovanna Carriera (1673–1757) was celebrated for developing the art of pastel portraiture. Carriera was a pioneer of the pastel technique and created hundreds of pastel portraits, allegories and personifications that captivated her audiences, including many Grand Tourists who visited her studio in Venice. Carriera had an unusual ability to represent textures and patterns using pastels. Her works remain very popular today, although they are rarely exhibited due to their fragility and sensitivity to light.

This self-portrait was made in about 1745 as a gift to the agent and dealer, Consul Joseph Smith. Carriera's self-portrait shows the artist looking directly out at the viewer, projecting an image of confidence and prestige that reflects the extraordinary celebrity she achieved in her career. This work was one of the last Carriera was able to produce before she suffered from the onset of blindness. Smith's collection was bought by George III in 1762 and the pastel is now in the Royal Collection.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.