Lot 73
  • 73

ANTON RAPHAEL MENGS | Study of legs for "The Adoration of the Shepherds"

7,000 - 9,000 USD
43,750 USD
bidding is closed


  • Attributed to Anton Raphael Mengs (After Raphael)
  • Study of legs for "The Adoration of the Shepherds"
  • Red chalk over traces of black chalk


The Swetzoff Gallery, Boston,
from whom acquired by the present owners in 1968


Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum; Hanover, Dartmouth College, Hopkins Center Art Galleries; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, One Hundred Master Drawings from New England Private Collections, 1973-74, no. 39

Catalogue Note

This carefully executed study of legs is preparatory for the figure of the shepherd striding towards Christ, in Mengs' painting of the Adoration of the Shepherds, executed in 1771-72, and now in the Prado (fig.1).1 Very few drawings by Mengs appear to survive for this particular project, with the most notable being an elaborate compositional sheet in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Weimar.2 The present drawing can, however, be compared on stylistic grounds to the manner in which Mengs frequently handled red chalk, with a notable emphasis placed on tight areas of hatching and cross-hatching, to create form. A particularly fine example of these techniques can also be seen in Mengs' red chalk copy of the Farnese Hercules, today in the collection of The Albertina, Vienna.3   

1. See S. Roettgen, Anton Raphael Mengs 1725–1779, Munich 1999, vol. I, pp. 49-50, no. 19, reproduced
2. Roettgen, op. cit., pp. 50-51, no. VZ 5, reproduced
3. Ibid., p. 465, no. Z 120, reproduced