Pastels are made by blending dry powdered
pigments with a nongreasy liquid binding medium such as gum arabic.
The resultant paste is usually rolled into
a stick and then dried.
A wide spectrum of pastel colors is possible,
and by the eighteenth century, some artists endeavored to imitate
the power and richness of oil painting through a coloristic and
painterly style of draftsmanship, so that many of the finest
pastels of the period are known as "pastel paintings."
Pastels were invented at the end of the
fifteenth century in northern Italy, and it is thought that Leonardo
da Vinci was the first artist to use them, although none of his
pastel drawings are known today.
Federico Barocci, Study for
the Head of Christ, 1986.535
Portrait of the Painter
Jean-Jacques Bachelieu, 1939.89
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Two
Dancers Entering the Stage, 1943.812
Odilon Redon, Head of a Young