Friday, April 6, 2012

Anton Raphael Mengs biography

Anton Raphael Mengs was born on 22 March 1728 at Aussig (now Usti-at-Labem, Czech Republic) into the family of Ismael Mengs, a court painter of Dresden. Resolving that the boy should become a painter, his father named him after the two famous masters of the Renaissance — Antonio Allegri (Correggio) and Raphael Santi. The dream of Mengs the Elder came to be true: his son succeeded him in his profession.

Anton Raphael Mengs biography:

1728    22 March:  Born at Aussig (now Usti-at-Labem, Czech Republic).
1729—40    Lives in Dresden,  studying under his father, Ismael Mengs, court painter.
1741    Moves  to Rome with his father,  where he studies classical art under Marco Bene-fiale and  Sebastiano Conca.
1746 Appointed court painter to Augustus III, elector of Saxony and king of Poland in Dresden. Does a number of portraits in pastel. Towards the close of 1746 leaves for Rome.
1747—48    Lives in Rome. Marries Margarita Guazzi.
1749—51 Returns to Dresden. Works chiefly as a portraitist. Is promoted to the rank of senior court painter and is commissioned to paint an altarpiece for the Dresden court church.
1752    Elected member of the Roman Academy of  St. Luke.
1754    Appointed director of the Academy of St.   Luke in  Rome.
1755    Receives commissions from the Neapolitan court.
1757—58 Paints fresco on the vaults of the St. Eusebius Church in Rome, known as The Apotheosis of St. Eusebius, and several portraits. Created a knight by the Pope.  Leaves for Naples at the invitation  of  Charles IV.
1759    Lives in Naples.
1760-—61 Lives in Rome. Paints the famous Parnassus fresco in the Villa Albani. Receives the title of court painter to Charles III of Spain.   Leaves for Spain.
1762—68 Lives in Madrid. Publishes his theoretical treatise Gedanken iiber die Schon-fieit und den  Geschmack in der Malerei.  Does   murals in the royal  palace.
1769    Returns from Madrid to Rome for rest and treatment.
1770    Lives in Florence, where he is admitted to the local guild of St. Luke with the title of director.
1771    Lives in Rome. Paints the fresco Allegory of History in the Camera dei Papiri of  the Vatican Library,  and a number of portraits.
1772    Leaves for   Naples.
1773    Stays in Rome,  then in Florence.
1774    Leaves Florence for Madrid, where he is put in charge of the Royal Tapestry Manufactory.
1775    Finishes, in the royal palace, previously begun frescoes: The Apotheosis of Heracles,  Aurora and   The Apotheosis of  Trajan.
1776    Executes, in association with the youthful Francisco Goya, sketches for tapestries. Works in Aranjuez Castle painting the fresco Time Stealing Pleasures, portraits and other pictures.  Suffers a relapse into iilness and leaves for Rome.
1777    Exhibits his Perseus and Andromeda  (now in the Hermitage, Leningrad).
1779    29 June:  Dies in Rome.

The history of art knows but few instances when a painter's works were appreciated, during his lifetime, as highly as were the paintings of Anton Raphael Mengs. He was a member of many academies, head of the academies of St. Luke in Rome and San Fernando in Madrid, director of the Florentine Academy, court painter to Augustus III, elector of Saxony and king of Poland, to king of Spain, and to the Pope in Rome. Created a knight, and basking in the sunshine of fame and adulation, Mengs was called by his contemporaries the most distinguished painter in Europe. Johann Joachim Winckelmann called him "the greatest painter of his time and of times to come". The rulers of many countries in continental Europe, from Spain in the west to Russia in the east, were anxious to obtain his canvases, sparing neither effort nor money for the purpose. However, his fame failed to stand the test of time. The nineteenth century already saw a considerable decline in enthusiasm for Mengs, and his works, particularly his murals, came to be given a sceptical rather than a complimentary estimate. Numerous opponents appeared, sharply criticizing Mengs and his aesthetic views. An impartial evaluation of the painter's legacy, taking into account its positive and negative features, correctly defining his place in the history of European, particularly German painting, has been worked out in our time, two centuries after the master's death, when investigators finally found it possible to undertake a thorough and unbiased study of his paintings.

 Perseus and Andromeda
 Portrait of Johann Joachim Winckelmann
 Study of a female head
Self Portrait

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