In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week: Anton Raphael Mengs, “Madonna and Child.”
Anton Raphael Mengs’ (1728-1779) was the son of an established painter, and his life revolved in and around the art world from birth to death. Born in Bohemia, Mengs would spend much of career in Rome, Madrid, and Saxony painting for — among others — the Duke of Northumberland and Charles III of Spain. By 26, Mengs had established himself as a master painter in Rome and earned distinction as director of the Vatican school of painting.
In addition to his exquisite pictures, Mengs is perhaps best known as a champion of classical antiquity. The painter’s close relationship with Johann Winckelmann helped to reestablish Neoclassicism in painting. Mengs would produce some of his best works for Charles III of Spain, including the outstanding ceiling of the banquet hall in the Royal Palace of Madrid. Mengs also executed a magnificent copy of Raphael’s “The School of Athens” on canvas for the Duke of Northumberland.
Mengs’ paintings are notable for their attention to detail and a grandeur that recalls the Roman Baroque style. Indeed, some scholars see Mengs as one of the last great Baroque painter, while others declare him the first great Neoclassicist — a title the artist would undoubtedly have enjoyed.
Heading to the auction block via Kaminski Auctions in Beverly, Massachusetts, is a gorgeous “Madonna and Child.” The work embodies all things classical and vividly displays Mengs’ meticulous detail. A warm luminance radiates from the figures within the tender scene. Kaminski Auctions will feature the painting on February 21 during its “Unreserved Estate Auction.”
To view the full catalogue, visit Kaminski Auctions.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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