A pupil of Giuseppe Diamantini and Antonio Balestra in Venice, Rosalba Carriera began her career with miniatures and small paintings on china and ivory but soon established herself as the fashionable portraitist of the Venetian aristocracy. Using the pastel technique to obtain an ethereal, sfumato effect, she won international renown and produced works for many European sovereigns. She became a member of the Academy of San Luca in Rome in 1705 and set off for Paris in 1720 with her two sisters, one of whom had married Antonio Pellegrini. She met Watteau there and was elected to the Académie de Peinture, thus setting the seal on her professional success. Ten years later she was summoned to Vienna to paint the portrait of the Austrian empress. Afflicted with problems of sight that led to blindness and depression, she died in Venice in 1757.