A.R. MENGS TRA ROMA E MADRID: LE INQUIETUDINI DEL PITTORE FILOSOFO SULL’ISTITUZIONE ACCADEMICA NELLA SECONDA METÀ DEL XVIII SECOLO A.R. Mengs between Rome and Madrid: the philosopher painter’s apprehensions about the academic institution in the late 18th century

Conteúdo Principal do Artigo

Noemi Cinelli

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Anton Raphael Mengs, Saint Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, Saint Luca National Academy in Rome


It is difficult to frame Anton Raphael Mengs in a specific stylistic movement nowadays that the chronological divisions and the consequent definitions of the art of the Enlightenment are going to be more and more controversial. Because of his eclectic and cosmopolitan activity, his ideas about Ideal Beauty spread across the countries affected by the apprehensions and hopes related to the 18th century. The bohemian painter dedicated his entire life to the study of ancient art; his marble collection of the statues from the great Italian collections interested the artists coming to the Eternal City, and he consecrates esthetic models of different epochs. Mengs never get away from these models – Ancient Greece, Raffaello Sanzio, Tiziano Vecellio, Antonio Correggio. His presence in Spain was favored by propitious circumstances: the coronation of an erudite, educate king, lover of Fine Arts, Charles III of Spain, a king so intimately close to the painter to guarantee him his protection in the difficult relation between Mengs and the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. The relation between the Institution and the Bohemian get complicated because of the different ideas about the organization of the academy and the education of the students. Because of the little original sources, several matters have not been resolved, for example the issue about the false ancient fresco of Jupiter and Ganymede, or the controversy about the Peña
case, that brought to the final breakup between the artist and the consiliarios in San Fernando Institution. Mengs focused his attention in an even worse matter about the direction of the academy: concretely, which competences had to have the consiliarios and which the teachers. When Mengs asked to be accepted in the academy, he undoubtedly thought that the Institution was structured as the other great one in which he took part in Italy, San Luca National Academy in Rome. Within Mengs’ proposals to raise the level of the Academy in Madrid there was the institution of anatomy and surgery teachings, which intent was to revolutionize the concept of painters and sculptors. In spite of the difficulties that the first painter of Charles III had during his stay in San Fernando, his acting had a fundamental role in developing the Art Theory and particularly in the European artists’ training.

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