Anton Raphael Mengs

Portrait of Johann Joachim Winckelmann

Portrait of Johann Joachim Winckelmann
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Author: Anton Raphael Mengs
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on panel, 67x53 cm
Origin: Germany, 1774-1776

Johann Joachim Winckelmann was a leading German art historian and theoretician. In 1775 he published his "Thoughts on the Imitation of Greek Painting and Sculpture" in Dresden, producing a stunning impression on contemporaries and creating the theoretical tenets for the development of Neoclassicism. Winckelmann's main work was "The History of Ancient Art" , the first study to look at the history of art as a process and to touch on the evolution of style. His view was that the only way for modern men to become great was to imitate the ancients. This idea was first applied by Mengs, who became acquainted with Winckelmann and was soon converted to his doctrines. The artist is to this day much admired for his excellent portraits and this painting of Winckelmann is remarkable for its classical clarity and generalised forms. The quick turn of the head, the slightly mocking light in the eyes, the somewhat ruffled hair, all speak of the sitter's vivid and communicative character.

Style: Neo-Classicism

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