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.
About the Author
Born in Lausanne in 1980, Nicolas Party is a figurative painter who has achieved critical admiration for his familiar yet unsettling landscapes, portraits, and still lifes that simultaneously celebrate and challenge conventions of representational painting. His works are primarily created in soft pastel, an idiosyncratic choice of medium in the 21st-century, and one that allows for exceptional degrees of intensity and fluidity in his depictions of objects both natural and manmade.Xavier F. Salomon is deputy director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, The Frick Collection, New York.