Eighteenth-Century Pastel Portraits

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Eighteenth-Century Pastel Portraits

Published May 24, 2019

Pastels—dry, satiny colors, manufactured in sticks of every hue—enjoyed a surge in popularity during the eighteenth century, becoming, for a time, the medium of choice for European portraiture. Unlike oil paints, which required laborious studio procedures and long sittings and drying times, pastels were portable and allowed speedy execution—the chance, essentially, to “draw” a painting. This display of pastels, drawn mostly from the Getty's permanent collection, explores the specific physical properties that made this medium so appealing to eighteenth-century portraitists and their patrons.

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