Joseph Vivien, Self-Portrait with Fur Cap, 1730. Pastel, 80 x 64,2 cm. © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München

Pastels were extremely popular in the 18th century. In France in particular numerous works were created. Colours were applied dry, with the help of pencils, but covered the entire surface, and therefore cannot be categorised as either painting or drawing. Pastels from this period continue to fascinate us today – sometimes with their immediacy and closeness to nature, sometimes with the virtuosity of their execution, and always with their precious fragility. The Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections) possess a number of outstanding pastels painted between 1700 and the 1750s: commissioned works by Elector Max Emanuel stand alongside later acquisitions and permanent loans; Joseph Vivien and Maurice Quentin de La Tour are represented, as are Rosalba Carriera and Jean-Étienne Liotard. The exhibition unites the works presented in the Alte Pinakothek with those usually shown in the Staatsgalerie in the Neues Schloss Schleißheim for the first time. Important lines of development thus become apparent. Above all, however, the diversity of effects achieved through this technique are revealed, and it becomes clear why this was the preferred medium for portraiture. 


Joseph Vivien, Charles, Duke of Berry (1686-1714), 1700. Pastel, 100.5 x 81.5 cm. © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München.


Joseph Vivien, Portrait of Max Emanuel von Beyern als Feldherr1706© Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München.


Jean-Étienne Liotard, The Breakfastc. 1752. © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München.


Rosalba Carriera, Die Parze Lachesisc. 1730© Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München.