The personalised art form of miniature portraits and the fragility of pastel paintings are a mirror of the limitations placed upon artists working in these mediums and their hierarchical value. An art object’s monumentality traditionally elevates a work of art above the domestic realm of pastel painting and miniature portraits. In the eighteenth century, at the peak of their popularity, the qualities of fragility and intimacy were part of these objects’ appeal.
KATHLEEN KIERNAN completed her doctorate on 17th and 18th century British art and culture at the University of Melbourne. She has worked as a tutor in the undergraduate Art History program since 2014. Kathleen was the Harold Wright Scholar in 2007 and recipient of the Macgeorge and Alma Hansen Scholarships. She is currently writing a book for Monash University Publishing titled Dutch Prints in the English Landscape.
image: Rosalba Carriera (Italian, 1675–1757), self-portrait holding a portrait of her sister, 1715 or 1709, pastel on paper, collection of the Uffizi Gallery, Italy Public domain