Portrait of Casanova by Mengs

Portrait of Casanova by Mengs
Portrait of Casanova by Mengs

Giacomo Casanova is a legendary figure, but he was also a real person who lived from 1725 to 1798. A Venetian who traveled to various places in Europe and as he tells his legend fell in love with many women, in addition to being imprisoned on several occasions, especially for his talent for love affairs. Hence his universal fame, butCasanovawas much more than a womanizer


Portrait of Giacomo Casanova by Mengs

He was a very cultured character who knew music, he met great personalities of the time, from cardinals or King Louis XV of France to Voltaire or Rousseau, he was commissioned various diplomatic missions in various courts and also fulfilled missions secret. In addition to the fact that he left several writings, including his memoirs, where he tells us about his life and where we can get an idea of ​​the reality of this character. In addition to the fact that his story helps us to follow his biography that led him to travel through the north of Italy, through Rome, through France, Germany or by Bohemia where he died. And he also traveled for almost a year (1767) throughSpain, to cities like Madrid, Toledo, Zaragoza or Barcelona.

A trip of which he left many written episodes, accompanied by interesting descriptions regarding the backwardness of the country or its customs. In addition to the fact that he made it very clear the influence that thestill hadHoly Inquisition in the 18th century, when the ideas of the Enlightenment had already spread throughout many parts of Europe.

In fact, a monarch reigned in Spain who wanted to establish those enlightened ideals, Carlos III, who had brought outstanding art personalities, from Italians like the architectFrancesco Sabatini, author of works such as the Puerta de Alcalá, to the painter Anton Rafael Mengs, the great representative of neoclassical painting in Spain.

Well, Casanova himself met Mengs in person and in Spain, and it seems that there wasn't much chemistry between the two personalities. In fact, he wrote a stinging criticism of him, saying that he had "the crazy conviction of owning the painting of Antonio Correggio and Rafael de Urbino." Because it seems that he got a snub from the painter.

For this reason it seems quite plausible that the portrait we see here is not the work of Mengs, although since it was found in 1952 the German author has been considered its creator. However, given its date of 1760 and the poor relationship between the two, many critics opt for the painter who made this portrait to be the Italian Francesco Narici (1719 – 1783).

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