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Anton Raphael Mengs 

Ústí nad Labem 1728 - 1779 Rome
Price range
250,000 – 3,000,000 USD
Anton Raphael Mengs is one of the earliest exponents of neoclassicism.

Mengs invented a style that would supplant the dramatic illusionism and flamboyant expression of the Baroque, quoting instead from ancient sculptures and elements derived from Raphael, Correggio, Titian and other figures from the past. He is also one of the great draftsmen of the 18th century, leading his own private academy—the ‘École de Mengs’ in the Via Sistina–and teaching at the newly established Accademia del Nudo on the Capitoline in Rome.

Mengs was son of a court painter in Dresden, Ismael Mengs (1688-1764), who firmly believed in his destiny to become a great painter. It was therefore only fitting that in 1740 Mengs travelled to Rome, establishing a reputation as a youthful prodigy. Despite this success, Mengs returned to Germany in 1744, working chiefly as a portraitist at the Dresden court. There, he encountered pastels by the artist Rosalba Carriera and assimilated this new and highly popular medium, soon developing a thriving practice as a court portraitist both in pastel and paint. In 1748–89 Mengs returned to Rome, where he would remain for much of the rest of his career, helming a busy studio and counting Zoffany and Von Maron as his best pupils.

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

230,268 $
353,000 $
569,612 $


The sales are: Sotheby’s London – 10 July 2014 lot 227 (134,500 GBP), Sotheby’s New York – 30 January 2014 lot 129, and Christie’s London – 7 July 2022 lot 31 (475,000 GBP). The top price was achieved by a portrait of Prince Friedrich Christian in 2022, which was acquired by the Getty Museum a year later.
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Books on Anton Raphael Mengs

Rolf H. Johannsen, The model of antiquity: Anton Raphael Mengs and his cast collection: Dresden Skulpturensammlung, Dresden, 2020.

Pia Hollweg, Anton Raphael Mengs’ Wirken in Spanien, Frankfurt and New York, 2008.

Steffi Roettgen, Anton Raphael Mengs, 1728–1779, 2 vols, Munich, 2003.

Helmut Pfotenhauer, et. al., Frühklassizismus: Position und Opposition: Winckelmann, Mengs, Heinse, Frankfurt, 1995.

Notable Exhibitions
Madrid, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Fundación Mapfre, Anton Raphael Mengs y la antiguedad, 20 November 2013–26 January 2014. Curated by Steffi Roettgen.

Padua, Palazzo Zabarella, Mengs: la scoperta del neoclassico, 3 March–11 June 2001; travelled to Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, 23 June–3 September 2001. Curated by Steffi Roettgen.

London, Kenwood, Iveagh Bequest, Anton Raphael Mengs 1728–1779 and his British patrons, 1993. Curated by Steffi Roettgen.

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