At the beginning and all along the sixteenth century, pastel is mainly used to enhance with few colorful touches drawn portraits.
In the seventeeth century, its use widespreads and it established itself as an independent technique. In 1665, Nicolas Dumontier's pastel is given for the first time as a subject of reception at the Royal Academy. Then, it was necessary to wait until 1701 to see the Salon accept two Vivien's pastels "François Girardon's portrait" and"Robert de Cotte's portrait" (Louvre), which earned him to be accepted to the Academy as "pastel painter".
It should be noted that Vivien is the first to do full-length and full-sized portraits, creating such majestic effigies type that will develop all along the eighteenth century.
It's also at this time, that production of pastels experiences its maximum growth.
In the nineteenth century, even if pastel is still used for portaits, it becomes a tool of choice for Impressionists, reflecting the most fleeting moods.
In the twentieth century, it is still very appreciated for the most vivid colours.