This is one of several self-portraits made by the painter Anton Raphael Mengs throughout his life, and which are scattered throughout the world's great museums, as is the case of the Ermitage of the Russian city of St. Petersburg or the one in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Mengs Self Portrait
But the Self-portrait of Mengs that we present to you here is exhibited at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, where by the way it is also kept the Adoration of the Shepherds in which this artist of German origin also painted himself.
The Self-Portrait is dated between 1761 and 1769, and is a medium format work (63 x 50 cm) painted with oil but on a panel surface. That support is curious when the canvas was much more common, and it is also curious to see the technique used, since it shows us as a painter with a much more sketchy art than what we are used to both in his portraits of royal characters. as in his many other mythological works such as his Perseus and Andromeda.
And Anton Raphael Mengs (1728 – 1779) is the prototype of neoclassical painter, scholar and scholar. A character who started working in his father's workshop located in the city ofDresden, which painted for the court of Saxony. But from there they soon leftthe whole family to Rome, where they settled between 1741 and 1744. A period in which he contemplated the legacy of Classical Antiquity and the great creations of Miguel Angel and from Rafael Sanzio. Especially the latter, whose works greatly influenced him.
And although he returned to Dresden and was also appointed Saxon court painter, he soon returned to the Italian capital, where he would marry and even renounced his Lutheran religion in favor of Catholicism
Also in Rome, years later, in 1755, he met the great art theorist ofNeoclassicism, that is,Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who proclaimed that artists should seek the ideal beauty. And likewise in Italy, but now inNaplesand in 1759 he was presented to the king of SpainCarlos III. A decisive fact since after painting part of the royal family, from 1761 and until his death in 1779 he remained in the service of the Spanish monarch.
However, he did not always do so while living in Spain, since he only lived in this country between 1761 and 1769, and later between 1774 and 1777. It was precisely in that first period that he painted this self-portrait, and for this reason it was part of the Royal Collections that are the true origin of the Museo del Prado.