|Anton Raphael Mengs, Apollo and the Muses on Parnassus, 1760-61|
(Villa Albani, Rome)
|Apollo Belvedere, Roman 120- 130|
(Copy of Bronze Original Greek 325-350BC)
(Vatican Museum, Rome)
Instead of concealing the ceiling with illusionism as was the custom since the Renaissance, Mengs emphasized it as a flat surface. Apollo is standing in the middle wearing laurels and holding a lyre, surrounded by muses in a symmetrical composition. Mengs' idealized figures recall sculptures from antiquity, his composition, paintings from the Renaissance. As a matter of fact, his Apollo is a rendition of the Apollo Belvedere in reverse which was believed at the time to be the most magnificent sculpture from ancient Greece (it has been proved to be a Roman copy since.) In this ceiling fresco he seems to have captured the essence of what his friend Winckelman was calling for at the time to cleanse the arts from French Rococo and bring a subdued gravity in its stead.
|Raphael, The School of Athens, 1509 -1510|
(Apostolic Palace, Vatican City, Rome)