Artist: Anton Raphael Mengs (German, Ústi nad Labem (Aussig) 1728–1779 Rome)

Date: ca. 1754

Medium: Pastel on paper, laid down on canvas

Dimensions: Oval, 24 3/8 x 19 1/4 in. (61.9 x 48.9 cm)

Classification: Pastels & Oil Sketches on Paper

Credit Line: Victor Wilbour Memorial, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment, and Marquand Funds, 2005

Accession Number: 2005.231


Mengs, born in Bohemia, was for the most part trained in Rome, where he settled in 1751 and lived for much of his life. His contemporaries knew him as a gifted practitioner and theorist of Neoclassicism. Among his most famous works is the Parnassus ceiling in Cardinal Albani’s villa in Rome, completed in 1761. During a stay in Dresden, about 1744, he saw pastels by the artist Rosalba Carriera and emulated them, developing a successful practice as a court portraitist. The present work was studied from a model and perfected in accordance with Mengs’s understanding of classical standards. The figure represents Pleasure and is based upon an iconographical type developed by Cesare Ripa. The coloring is varied, the modeling delicate and softly blended.