Young Woman Writing a Letter
c. 1755-60
Pietro Antonio Rotari (Italian, 1707-1762)
Not on View

Pietro Rotari exemplified the type of highly successful, itinerant artist of the eighteenth century who traveled to wealthy patrons. He created many genre portraits, including images of pretty young girls smiling, frowning, dozing and casting coquettish glances.

Rotari's cool palette, smooth brushwork and graceful reserve made him one of the most pleasing artists of the eighteenth century. Viewing this young woman writing a love letter from close up, we are invited to experience the cozy sensation of her daydream, which is presumably about her paramour.


  • Artist Name: Pietro Antonio Rotari (Italian, 1707-1762)
  • Title: Young Woman Writing a Letter
  • Date: c. 1755-60
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 33-1/2 x 27-1/8 in. (85 x 68.9 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1979.18.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

[Dr. Fritz Haussmann, Berlin, sold 31 October 1941 to];
[Schaeffer Galleries, New York, stock no. 638, sold 26 January 1942 to];
[Frederick (Fritz) A. Stern, Cosmos Art, Inc., New York, still in 1944];
Willem Kleinberg, New York, by 1945 (sale, New York, Sotheby's, 12 January 1979, lot 134, ill., as Portrait of a Young Girl Drawing, to);
[Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York; stock no. 6512-2802, offered 22 February 1979 and subsequently sold 15 March 1979 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Gems of Baroque Painting

  • New York, Schaeffer Galleries, 1942-01-27 to 1942-02-28

[on loan]

  • Phoenix, Phoenix Art Museum, 1979-06-18 to 1979-10

Serial Flirtations: Rotari's Muses

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2017-03-03 to 2017-07-31

[on loan]

  • Princeton University Art Museum, 1979-03-14 to 1979-06-17

Six Centuries of Portraiture from the Permanent Collection

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1989-11-02 to 1990-12-16

The Expressive Body: Memory, Devotion, Desire (1400-1750)

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2021-10-15 to 2022-03-07
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 108
  • Maria Rosa Cutrufelli; Translated by Roula Zaromenou, La Donna Che Visse Per Un Sogno - Greek Edition, 2007, Cover
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1591 p. 424
Audio Tour
English | Español
Audio Tour Transcript
English | Español
English | Español
Transcripción de Audioguía
English | Español

Additional Artwork by Artist

Portrait of Ecaterina Petrovna Holstein-Beck, Later Princess Bariatinsky Pietro Antonio Rotari 1762
Woman Wearing a Black Fur Hat Pietro Antonio Rotari c. 1760
Woman Wearing a Black Scarf with Lace Trim Pietro Antonio Rotari c. 1760

Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.

Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.

Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.

Reproduction Request Form