Portrait of Cardinal Dzelad, Anton Rafael Mengs – overview

Portrait of Cardinal Dzelad, Anton Rafael Mengs – overview
Portrait of Cardinal Dzelad, Anton Rafael Mengs - overview - 1

  • Posted by Anton Rafael Mengs
  • Museum: Chicago Institute of the Arts
  • Year: 1773

Overview of the painting :

Portrait of Cardinal Dzelad – Anton Rafael Mengs. Panel, oil. 90 x 66 cm

   Anton Mengs is known for his frescoes and paintings on religious subjects. In this he became famous, gained fame and position of the main court painter. But as a portrait painter, Anton Rafael Mengs is interesting for his contemporaries and for descendants.

   Mengs is in the thick of the events of the courtyard and, of course, he has many patrons and fans of creativity who dream of getting paintings with his autograph. The kings of Spain, Saxony and their families posed to Mengsu. His portraits of the great, omnipotent and influential people of that time are bright and written with the highest skill. The portrait of Cardinal Francesco Saverio de Dzelad is a confirmation of this.

   The painting was written in 1773, the year when Bishop de Dzelad was appointed His Grace Cardinal of the main administrative organ of the Holy See and the Vatican. Mengs has always been distinguished by the ability to convey in solemn portraits the importance and power of state husbands, while not losing their individuality, humanity and the characteristic features inherent in this particular model.

   The cardinal looks at us in a white-red cloak thrown on his shoulders. The background behind the back is one-ton, not distracting attention from the figure of the clergy. The portrait does not create a pomp. Maybe due to the fact that the tiara (this is the main symbol of vestments in the Roman Catholic Church) is not on the head, but in the hands of the posing. Or maybe it’s from a good, all-understanding view of the cardinal and a slight smile. The author draws the cardinal’s very natural and living face, the high forehead and the wise eyes of a highly educated person of that time.

   Thanks to Mengs’ talent with his classic approach to painting, with soft and smooth “Rafaelian” lines, excellent canvases with realistic images of many famous people of the 18th century have come to us.