Anton Raphael Mengs

Perseus and Andromeda

Perseus and Andromeda
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Author: Anton Raphael Mengs
Painting, Oil on canvas, 227x153.5 cm
Origin: Germany, 1774-1779

The Hermitage possesses one of the best collections of works by Mengs in the world, painted at different periods in his career. Of these works the most famous is Perseus and Andromeda, its subject taken from Ovid's "Metamorphoses", which was exhibited in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome in 1777, where it was much admired by those who saw it. Mengs sought his pure artistic forms in the Classical heritage: the work is essentially based on two Classical cameos which belonged to the artist, both now in the Hermitage; the figure of Perseus was based on the statue of the Apollo Belvedere, and that of Andromeda was borrowed from a Classical relief in the Villa Pamphili in Rome. The ordered nature of the unfussy composition, the ideally correct drawing, the skilful sculptural modelling of the figures and the majestic rhetorical gesture of the central figure all indicate that the work was composed according to the strict canons of Neoclassicism, of which Mengs was a devout follower.

Personage: Perseus
Style: Neo-Classicism
Source of entry: acquired from M. de Sartine for Catherine II, 1780
Theme: Classical Religion and Mythology
Exibition: German Art: 15th - 18th centuries

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