Rosalba Carriera was born in Venice in 1675 and became an immensely popular woman artist and the first artist to manipulate and use pastel on a large scale. She taught her sisters how to paint and was a mentor to many young artists. She was born and raised in Venice and passing traders and tourists saw her work, which was publicly displayed in Venice. Thus, she was given portrait commissions from people all over Europe.
In 1720, she was invited to Paris by art dealer and collector Pierre Crozat. There, she joined the art circle that included Antoine Watteau, with whom she was largely responsible for the creation of the Rococo style.
She was admitted into the Academy of St. Luke in Rome, Bolonga, and Florence, which was unusual for the time since women were excluded from most formal art institutions. It was also during this time that she painted Cosimo de’ Medici III and afterwards, received dozens of commissions from various Italian and French nobles.
Unfortunately, towards the end of her life, Carriera began to lose her eyesight, which resulted in a large number of emotional problems for the artist since she was no longer able to work and ceased painting for the last decade of her life. Her contemporaries considered Carriera a pioneer and a genius of pastel and portraiture and she was a particular influence on pastel portraitist Maurice Quentin de la Tour.
Rosalba Carriera died in Venice in 1757.