Rosalba Carriera (Italian, Venice 1673–1757 Venice)
Oval, 3 x 2 1/4 in. (76 x 59 mm)
Rogers Fund, 1949
Not on view
Rosalba was a pastelist as well as a painter of miniatures. In about 1700, influenced by the vogue for painting on the bottom of ivory boxes (fondelli), she began to work on an ivory ground; through her example this surface became that most commonly used for miniatures throughout the eighteenth century. Rosalba presented a miniature on ivory entitled L’Innocenza, representing a young girl with a dove (Bernardina Sani, Rosalba Carriera, Turin, 1988, pp. 14, 27, pl. 1), to the Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1705. She enjoyed an international reputation, and her visit to France in 1720–21 had a decisive effect on miniature painting in that country. The ivory ground, combined with greater freedom in brushwork and the use of impasto, contributes to the brilliant effect of her miniatures.
The portrait was painted about 1710. The attribution to Rosalba (under which The Met acquired it) appears to be correct and has been confirmed by Sani (1992, 2007). The bluing of the armor is handled with characteristic technical finesse. A black paper fixed to the frame's wooden backing is inscribed in pencil Earl [...] / Middlesex. Charles Sackville (1711–1769), son of Lionel Cranfield Sackville (1688–1765), earl of Dorset and Middlesex, was styled earl of Middlesex from 1720 to 1765, but the miniature does not portray him or his father.
[2016; adapted from Reynolds and Baetjer 1996]
Leo R. Schidlof (until 1949; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Four Centuries of Miniature Painting," January 19–March 19, 1950, unnumbered cat. (p. 5, as "Man in Armor").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Eighteenth-Century Woman," December 12, 1981–September 5, 1982, unnumbered cat. (p. 60, as "Portrait of a Gentleman in Armor").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 5, 1996–January 5, 1997, no. 97.
Bernardina Sani. Letter to Katharine Baetjer. February 28, 1992, confirms the attribution to Rosalba.
Graham Reynolds with the assistance of Katharine Baetjer. European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1996, pp. 12–13, 91, 117, no. 97, colorpl. 97 and ill. p. 116, note that Rosalba was the first miniaturist to use an ivory ground, and that her visit to France from 1720 to 1721 had a decisive effect on miniature painting in that country; reject an identification of the sitter as Charles Sackville or his father, Lionel Cranfield Sackville, earl of Dorset and Middlesex.
Katharine Baetjer. "British Portraits in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Summer 1999), p. 23, ill. (color).
Bernardina Sani. Rosalba Carriera, 1673–1757: maestra del pastello nell'Europa "ancien régime". Turin, 2007, p. 113, no. 97, ill.