“Sleep of St. Joseph,” Anton Rafael Mengs – overview of the painting

“Sleep of St. Joseph,” Anton Rafael Mengs – overview of the painting
"Sleep of St. Joseph," Anton Rafael Mengs - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Anton Rafael Mengs
  • Museum: Museum of the History of the Arts, Vienna
  • Year: 1774

Overview of the painting :

The dream of St. Joseph is Anton Rafael Mengs. Wood, butter. 114 x 86 cm

   Mengs is a famous painter of the 18th century neoclassicism style. He writes portraits, frescoes, paintings, paints altars of churches, library rooms, apartments of villas and palaces. He is the main court painter at the court of the Saxon Kurfürst, he is a favorite of kings Charles III and Carlos IV, he is invited to Spain to paint the Madrid Palace, and he is also very popular in Italy.

   At the heart of his work are mythological, religious plots. So, in 1777, Mengs writes a picture of St. Joseph’s Dream. This is a plot from the Gospel of the Holy Family – Jesus Christ, his mother Maria and righteous Joseph, who have to flee Bethlehem, fleeing the evil king Judea Herod, who ordered to kill all the babies in search of the son of God.

   In the picture, the author depicted the moment when the angel went down to Joseph in a dream to warn him of “the night of the beating of babies.”. He punishes the father of the family to quickly gather his family, flee to Egypt and be there.

   Mengs masterfully transmits light and shadow on the face of the tired Joseph, every wrinkle and lock of hair is perfectly written out. A sitting figure is depicted on the verge of half-eat. The left hand is involuntarily lowered, but the fingers still squeeze the stick.

   A bright cloak is poured by all shades of color and light. Fabric layouts are realistic and emphasize the texture of the fabric. Behind Joseph, a white angel with golden curls is so light, airy, unearthly. He with mild grace tells Joseph the way to save Christ. The face of God’s messenger in “Rafaelian” is gentle and beautiful.

   There is nothing superfluous on this canvas. Artist Mengs is a great connoisseur of ancient art and painting of the Renaissance. His compositional structure is simply impeccable. And the work turned out to be beautiful, she is a model of classical painting and mastery of the author.