Pastel paintings have greatly enriched the world of art with their unique blends and strokes.
Pastel comes from the French word pastiche which stands for the powdered pigment that is grounded into paste and rolled in sticks. Its color ranges from the subtle to vibrant. Artists have been using it since the Renaissance even though it only became popular around 18th to 19th century. Now, pastel is considered to be one of the major mediums in fine art. Pastel paintings are known for their velvety texture and blends.
New and old pastel artists offer pastel portraits in a variety of styles. Some of them have their masterpieces displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, one of the world’s largest and finest art museums. Here are top pastel artists and their works as displayed in MET.
Benedetto Luti (Study of a Boy in a Blue Jacket)
Benedetto Luti is an Italian artist known for his pastel portraiture. He’s one of the first painters who used pastels in the final composition, not just in the initial studies for frescoes or paintings.
One of his famous works is the Study of a Boy in a Blue Jacket, also known as the Young Boy. He used chalk and pastel on a blue laid paper and laid down on a paste paper in making this work of art.
Maurice Quentin de La Tour (Preparation for a Portrait of Louis XV)
De La Tour was a French portraitist who usually worked with pastels. He is known for capturing the intellect and inner spirit of his sitter, the most famous of which are Voltaire, Rousseau, Madame de Pompadour, and Louis XV.
The Preparation for a Portrait of Louis XV was made for a pastel study in preparation for his first commission as the king’s portrait artist. He used paste on a blue paper with an arched top.
Charles-Antoine Coypel (Double Portrait Presumed to Represent François de Jullienne and His Wife)
Charles-Antoine Coypel was a French playwright, art commentator, and painter. His designs were mainly inspired by the designs of his father, the artist Antoine Coypel. When Antoine died, Charles also inherited his post as the First Painter to the King. During his service to the king, he presumably painted the double portrait to represent François de Jullienne and his young wife.
The portrait uses pastel, watercolor, and black chalk underdrawing on found joined handmade sheets and blue laid paper. It’s mounted on a canvas and stuck to the keyed stretcher.
Anton Raphael Mengs (Pleasure)
Anton Mengs was a German Bohemian painter who made his mark on Saxony, Madrid, and Rome alike. He also became one of the forerunners of Neoclassical art.
Though not one of his most famous works, Pleasure still portrays his usual style. It’s a portrait that used pastel on a laid down paper on canvas.
These are just some of the pastel portraits found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art that are given recognition and appreciation by both artists and non-artists.