Mengs, Anton Raphael

Mengs, Anton Raphael

(än`tôn rä`fäĕl mĕngs), 1728–79, German historical and portrait painter, b. Bohemia. He was the pupil of his father, Ismael Mengs (c.1688–1764), a Dresden miniaturist who took him to Italy in 1741. Anton was appointed Dresden court painter in 1749. Influenced by the theories of WinckelmannWinckelmann, Johann Joachim
, 1717–68, German classical archaeologist and historian of ancient art, in which field he was a noted authority. A convert to Roman Catholicism in 1754, he went to Italy the following year.
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, he became the leading light of the neoclassical movement. His major works include Parnassus (1761; Villa Albani, Rome) and Apotheosis of Trajan (Madrid), which he created as court painter to Charles III of Spain. His portrait of Johann Joachim Winckelmann is in the Metropolitan Museum. Mengs was also an important theoretician.


See his Collected Works (1780). His most famous work was Considerations on Beauty and Taste in Painting (1762).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mengs, Anton Raphael


Born Mar. 22, 1728, in Aussig, in present-day Ústì nad Labem, in Czechoslovakia; died June 29, 1779, in Rome. German painter and art theorist.

Mengs worked in Dresden, Rome, and Madrid. Under the influence of his friend J. J. Winckelmann, he adopted classicist principles both in his painting and theoretical works. Mengs’ works (the fresco Parnassus, 1761, Villa Albani, Rome) are marked by eclecticism, abstraction, and idealization. His drawings and portraits are particularly expressive (Self-portrait, Hermitage, Leningrad).


Sämtliche hinterlassene Schriften, vols 1-2. Edited by G. Schilling, Bonn, 1843-44.
In Russian translation:
In Mastera iskusstva ob iskusstve, vol. 3. Moscow, 1967. Pages 459-67.


Honisch, D. A. R. Mengs und die Bildform des Frühklassizismus. Berlin, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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