The Chocolate Girl, Jean-Etienne Liotard
Pastel on parchment, roughly 20 x 32 inches (52 x 82 cm). Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden.
This is the most famous of 18th century Swiss artist Jean-Etienne Liotard’s beautiful pastel portraits and genre paintings, remarkable for its sublime modeling. August III of Poland, who purchased the painting in the mid-1700s, commented on the absence of shadows in the modeling of the face and compared it to the portraits of Holbein.
I’m also struck by the beautiful effect of the delicate texture of the pastel application.
The painting (and yes, I’m happy to call pastels of this nature “paintings”) shows a maid carrying a tray with a chocolate beverage — at the time a treat too rare and expensive for any but the wealthy.
The image became the inspiration for branding images in the 19th century for Droste chocolate tins, which used a knock-off by another artist, and Baker’s Chocolate products, which licensed the painting for that use (though today it has been reduced to a mere silhouette).