New volume in the Frick Diptych series features a contribution by acclaimed figurative painter Nicolas Party paired with an illuminating essay by Frick chief curator Xavier F. Salomon.
This pastel belongs to a small number of works of art at the Frick by a female artist. Rosalba Carriera (Italian, 1673-1757) spent most of her life in Venice, then a popular destination for young aristocrats from all over Europe undertaking the Grand Tour--a tour of the continent that served as an educational rite of passage into adulthood. Many of these travelers would go to Rosalba's studio to have a portrait painted, and Rosalba, who began her career as a miniaturist painter in Venice, became internationally acclaimed. Rosalba's pastels are technically innovative, remarkable for their soft edges and sumptuous effects. By binding colored chalk into sticks, she obtained a much wider range of prepared colors, which ultimately expanded the visual possibilities of this medium.
Little is known about this portrait, painted about 1730. Despite the fragility of the medium--pastel--it is in pristine condition. The portrayal of the man as a pilgrim, with a black cape and holding a staff, may indicate that he was a member of the Pellegrini family--pellegrini being the Italian word for pilgrims--or that he is someone who traveled on a pilgrimage. More likely, however, his attire is simply a costume related to the Venetian Carnival.
Designed to foster critical engagement and interest specialist and non-specialist alike, each book in the Frick Diptych series illuminates a single work in the Frick's rich collection with an essay by a Frick curator paired with a contribution from a contemporary artist or writer.