The Chocolate Girl by Jean Etienne Liotard
1702-1789 / pastel on parchmentThis is the first painting I have picked for "ART LOVE" because it was introduced to me around 1985 by a very special man (with the most wonderful family) Erich Herrmann who at the time lived in Dresden, East Germany. I was in art school and eager to absorb everything I could, and Erich who was well-cultured in the arts took me aside and wanted to show me his most favourite painting. I loved that he spoke to me so eloquently and passionately about this beautiful pastel and I was equally enamoured that this man had a favourite painting! It was kind of new to me that someone not working in the arts would have such a love of them. I've come to think of that as a bit of a European trait ; )
He later gave me a book as a souvenir called: Guide to the Old Masters Picture Gallery Dresden which showcases this painting. The book in part says:
Count Algarotti purchased it in Venice in 1745 for the Dresden collection. In a letter dated 1751 to his friend....he wrote:
I have bought a pastel picture about three feet high by the celebrated Liotard. It shows a young German chamber-maid in profile, carrying a tray with a glass of water and a cup of chocolate. The picture is almost devoid of shadows, with a pale background, the light being furnished by two windows reflected in the glass. It is painted in half-tones with imperceptible graduations of light and with a perfect modelling...and although it is a European picture it could appeal to the Chinese who, as you know, are sworn enemies of shadows. With regard to the perfection of the work, it is a Holbein in pastel.Algarotti wrote to Brühl in 1746 that all the Venetian painters, and even Rosalba Carriera herself, considered The Chocolate Girl to be "the most beautiful pastel ever seen".