The itinerary <em>TITULORECORRIDO</em> has been successfully created. Now you can add in works from the Collection browser
<em>TITULOOBRA</em> added to <em>TITULORECORRIDO</em> itinerary

Charles III
Mengs, Anton Raphael
Close Continuar a ficha de la obra

Mengs, Anton Raphael

Aussig (Czech Republic), 1728 - Rome (Italy), 1779

Mengs, Anton Raphael See author's file

Charles III

Ca. 1765. Oil on canvas.
Room 039

This image of King Charles III was paired with a portrait of his wife, Maria Amalia of Saxony (P2201), although the image of the queen was not painted in her presence. Instead, it was invented on the basis of other likenesses, as she died before the artist was able to paint her.

Mengs’s effigie of Charles III became the monarch’s official image and was therefore the object of various replicas. One such copy, of excellent quality and with some variants (P5011), must have been painted in 1774 on the occasion of the king’s founding of the Royal Order of Charles III, as he appears with the lion necklace and the insignia of the Immaculate Conception, as well as the blue and white sash of that corporation. The portrait of Charles III was twice engraved by Manuel Salvador Carmona in 1783, and also by Rafael Morghen for the Guía de forasteros.

The king appears in armor and regal robes, standing out against a palatial indoor background with curtains and a wide pilaster on a pedestal. His left hand transmits an imperative gesture while his right holds his command baton. The insignias of three monarchical military orders -the Golden Fleece and the medals of the orders of the Saint-Esprit of France and of Saint Gennaro of Naples- are visible on his chest. The broad cummerbund at his waist and the sword, whose hilt is visible at his side, complete an image in which military elements are integrated into a courtly conception.

His face is severe but not haughty, reflecting the complacent character that Mengs brought to regal iconography in most of the commissions he carried out at the crown’s behest. In contrast to the rigidity of his portrait of Queen Maria Amalia of Saxony, the king is presented with a most pleasing naturalness and closeness, despite the logical decorum imposed by the solemnity of a monarchical image.

Replicas and successive interpretations of the royal likeness were intended to satisfy the demands of foreign courts and government centers throughout Spain’s vast empire, and there is a revealing document in this regard. In 1773, the Marquis of Grimaldi wrote to the Marquis of Montealegre: the empress of Russia has requested portraits of the King and of our lords, the Prince and Princess. Don Francisco Bayeu and Don Mariano Maella have been ordered to paint them, and it has been determined that the copies should be made by don Rafael Mengs. Consequently, besides their workshop aides, other artists from court circles -painters and engravers- participated as needed in the generation of replicas of the official model created by Mengs (Text extracted from Luna, J. J.: El Prado en el Ermitage, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011, pp. 168-169).

Technical data

Related artworks

Charles III
Taille douce: etching and engraving on continuous paper, 1783
Salvador Carmona, Manuel
Carlos III
Taille douce: etching and engraving on wove paper, 1783
Salvador Carmona, Manuel
Carlos III
Taille douce: etching and engraving on laid paper, 1783
Salvador Carmona, Manuel
Maria Amalia of Saxony
Oil on unlined canvas, Ca. 1761
Mengs, Anton Raphael
Charles III
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1774
Mengs, Anton Raphael
Inventory number
Mengs, Anton Raphael
Charles III
Ca. 1765
Height: 151.8 cm; Width: 110.3 cm
Royal Collection (Royal Palace, Madrid, "callejón de paso a las tribunas", 1814-1818, s.n.?).

Bibliography +

Inventarios Palacio Nuevo. 1794, Madrid, 1794.

Inventario de las Pinturas del Museo Hecho a la Muerte del Rey, Texto fotocopiado, Madrid, 1834, pp. 38.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Antonio Rafael Mengs (1728-1779): noticia de su vida y de sus obras con el catálogo de la exposición celebrada en mayo de 1929, Madrid, 1929, pp. 13.

Mayoral y Herrero, José, El Prognatismo Inferior en los Borbones de España. Tesis Doctoral, Odontología Clínica, Madrid, 1933, pp. lám.26.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier; Pita Andrade, José Manuel, Los retratos de los Reyes de España, Omega, Barcelona, 1948, pp. lám.155.

Honisch, Dieter, Anton Raphael Mengs Und Die Bildform des Fruhklassizismus, Aurel Bongers, Recklinghausen, 1965, pp. 100-101.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Permanencia de la memoria: cartones para tapiz y dibujos de, Gobierno de Aragón, Departamento de Educación y Cu, Zaragoza, 1977, pp. 76.

L' art européen á la cour d'Espagne au XVIIIe siecle, Reunion des musees nationaux, París, 1979, pp. 185,186.

Antonio Rafael Mengs: 1728-1779, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1980, pp. 30.

Sánchez Albornoz, Claudio, Historia Universal, Carroggio, Barcelona, 1981, pp. 202.

Simon Bolivar: bicentenario de su nacimiento 1783-1983, Consejo Nacional de Cultura, Caracas, 1983.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 417-418.

Menéndez Pidal, Ramón, Historia de España. Vol. XXIX. La Epoca de los Primeros Borb, EspasaCalpe, Madrid, 1985, pp. 159/ lám.52.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso, Carlos III coleccionista a través de las colecciones del Prado., BOLETIN INSTITUCION LIBRE DE ENSEÑANZA, 1988, pp. 29.

Iglesias, Maria del Carmen, Carlos III y la ilustración: 1788-1988, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1988, pp. 434.

Buades Torrent, Josefina., El Edificio del Ministerio de Economía y Hacienda y su tesoro artístico, Ministerio de Economía y Hacienda, Madrid, 1988, pp. 94-95.

Quintana, A., Goya y el Espiritu de la Ilustracion, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1988, pp. 139,140.

Symmons, Sarah, Goya. In Pursuit of Patronage, Gordon Fraser, Londres, 1988, pp. 105.

Fernández Miranda y Lozana, Fernando, Inventarios Reales. Carlos III. 1789-1790. Vol. I, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1988, pp. 42.

Arnáiz, José Manuel, Los pintores de la Ilustración, Ayuntamiento, Concejalía de Cultura, Madrid, 1988, pp. 129.

Anatra, Bruno, Venezia e la Spagna, Electa, Milan, 1988, pp. 211/ lám.228.

Goya and the spirit of enlightenment, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989, pp. 3.

Portela Sandoval, Francisco Jose, La pintura del siglo XVIII, Vicens-Vives, Barcelona, 1990, pp. 139.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. 530.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Barcelona, 1994, pp. 474.

La Pintura Española, LA PINTURA EN EUROPA, Electa, Milan, 1995, pp. 399/ lám.487.

Roettgen, Steffi, Anton Raphael Mengs, 1728-1779, I, Hirmer Verlag, München, 1999, pp. 207/ lám.138.

El Westmorland: recuerdos del Grand Tour, Fundación el Monte, Sevilla, 2002, pp. 213-214, nº 6.

Agueda Villar, M. Calderón, R. Kinder Kar, C, Legacy : Spain and the United States in the Age of Independe..., Smithsonian Institute: Sociedad, 2007, pp. 254.

Hollweg, Pia, Anton Raphael Mengs’ Wirken in Spanien, Peter Lang, 2008.

El Prado en el Hermitage, Museo Estatal del Hermitage: Museo del Prado, 2011, pp. 168-169.

Castillo Álvarez, Silvia, Marcos, muebles y maderas: obras de carpintería, ebasnistería y enmarcado en el Museo del Prado (1818-38), Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXXIII (51), 2015, pp. 100-111 [105].

Martínez Plaza, P, J, El gabinete de descanso de sus majestades, Museo Nacional del Prado,, Madrid, 2019.

Other inventories +

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. ¿s. n.?.
Pinturas que existen en el Callejón / que llaman de paso a las Tribunas colgadas y sin colgar [...] {21952-21953} Dos varas alto vara y media ancho, Carlos III armado = doña Maria Amalia = Mengs

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1440c.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 2001.
Rafael Mengs / 2001. Retrato de Carlos 3º. / Alto 5 pies, 56 pulg; ancho 3 pes, 11 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 2200.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 2200.

Exhibitions +

Their Majesties’ Retiring Room
09.04.2019 - 12.10.2021

Charles III in hunting Dress by Francisco de Goya. Connections and differences
19.12.2016 - 12.06.2017

El Prado en el Hermitage
San Petersburgo
25.02.2011 - 29.05.2011

From El Greco to Dalí: Spanish Masters and their Followers
27.02.2003 - 18.05.2003

Permanencia en la memoria . Cartones para tapices y dibujos de Goya
14.02.1997 - 06.04.1997

Goya y el Espíritu de la Ilustración
Nueva York NY
09.05.1989 - 16.07.1989

Carlos III y la Ilustración
27.02.1989 - 16.04.1989

Goya y el Espíritu de la Ilustración
18.01.1989 - 26.03.1989

Carlos III y la Ilustración
09.11.1988 - 22.01.1989

Goya y el Espíritu de la Ilustración
04.10.1988 - 18.12.1988

Location +

Room 039 (On Display)


Displayed objects +



Insignia of the Royal Order of Saint Genaro

Order of the Holy Ghost

Golden Fleece

Baton, Command

Baton, Captain General's

Update date: 07-07-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

Other works by Mengs, Anton Raphael

Print on demand

Print artworks available in our catalogue in high quality and your preferred size and finish.

Image archive

Request artworks available in our catalogue in digital format.