Author(s): Xavier Salmon
The Musée du Louvre boasts an exceptional collection of 17th- and 18th-century European pastels. Due to their fragility, there have been scant opportunities to view and learn from these spectacular artworks. This in-depth examination of the collection, reproduced here for the first time in color, delves into their history and how they were created. Produced primarily during the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI, the works--whose beautiful delicacy has been likened to the powder covering the wings of a butterfly--offer insights into society during the period of the Enlightenment. Featured artists include Rosalba Carriera, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, Jean Étienne Liotard, Jean-Marc Nattier, and Élisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun, as well as lesser-known masters such as Marie-Suzanne Giroust, Adélaïde Labille-Guirard, Joseph Bose, and Joseph Ducreux.