Serial Flirtations: Rotari’s Muses

Exhibition Website

Mar 3 2017 - Jul 31 2017

The Norton Simon Museum presents an exhibition that looks at the 18th-century painter Pietro Rotari (1707–1762), whose work somewhat unintentionally fell into the category of serial art during his late period, when he lived in Russia. Rotari began his career in his hometown of Verona. 

As he gained recognition, he traveled widely throughout Italy, studying the works of Venetian, Roman and Neapolitan artists. In these early years, he painted primarily religious and mythological subjects. But by 1750, when he was called to Vienna to work for Empress Maria Theresa, and then Dresden, where he was summoned by King Augustus III, his attention would turn to painting bust-length portraits of elegant members of their courts. In 1755, Rotari was summoned by Empress Elizabeth of Russia to work in St. Petersburg, where he and his prolific studio would produce hundreds of depictions of young girls, all of them demonstrating varying degrees of emotion—subtle, but clearly legible. The painter’s virtuosity for such work earned him great acclaim, both for his talents and his prodigious output.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.

  • Painting
  • European
  • 18th Century
  • Portrait
  • Pietro Rotari

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