Allegoria della pittura (1730s)

Carriera, Rosalba (1675-1757)

Allegoria della pittura (Allegory of Painting)
Pastel and red chalk on blue laid paper mounted on canvas, 44.3 × 34.1 cm
National Gallery of ArtWashington

Shown from the chest up, a young woman with pale, smooth skin and dressed in a light blue gown holds a paint brush and palette in this vertical pastel drawing. The woman’s body is angled to our right. She turns her head back to our left but then looks back off to our right from the corners of her eyes under faint brows. Her wide-set eyes are gray, her nose long and straight, and her delicate pink lips are closed in a slight smile. Her curly, ash-blond hair sweeps back from her forehead to gather in a braid across the crown of her head. Soft, loose tendrils frame her round face, which has touches of ice-blue shadows at the corners of her mouth and eyes. Sky-blue and white flowers with mint-green leaves adorn her hair to our left, and two touches of royal blue near her ear on our right suggests a ribbon. Gleaming white pearl earrings hang from her ears. Her dress is created with filmy layers of arctic blue, taupe, white, and pale pink. The gown has a deep, V-shaped neckline, and a long sleeve is turned back from the wrist we can see. In that hand, she holds the wooden paintbrush at about chest height, and it extends off the right edge of the sheet. In the lower right corner of the composition, the thumb of her other hand hooks through a hole in the palette, which has daubs of pink and white. The corner of a blank easel is visible over her shoulder to our right. The background is mouse gray tinged with the blue of the paper on which it is drawn. (NGA)