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María Luisa of Parma, Princess of Asturias
Mengs, Anton Raphael
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Mengs, Anton Raphael

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

Mengs, Anton Raphael See author's file

María Luisa of Parma, Princess of Asturias

Ca. 1765. Oil on canvas.
Room 022

Mengs painted these portraits of the heirs to the Spanish throne -the prince and princess of Asturias, Carlos de Borbón and Maria Luisa of Parma- on the occasion of their wedding. As the daughter of Philip I, Duke of Parma, and Louise Isabelle of France, and thus granddaughter of Kings Philip V and Louis XV, Maria Luisa was Queen Consort of Spain between 1788 and 1808.

She wears a light-colored dress with green and white flowers and an open neck. The insignia of the Order of the Starred Cross of the Holy Empire rests on her bosom, and small diamond brooches are visible under her chignon. Her long earrings and sumptuous necklace are also of diamonds. A pearl bracelet adorns her right hand, which holds two carnations, while the left, which holds a closed fan, has a pearl bracelet with a miniature portrait. Mengs places the princess alongside a wooden balustrade that opens onto a vast wooded park with a hill and a waterway. The large stone vase with flowers and various branches on the left strengthens the effect of perspective and depth. Maria Luisa was fifteen when this portrait was made. She was born in Parma in 1751 and died in Rome in 1819. Here, her facial features do not yet show the changes produced when she lost all her teeth. The resulting expression when her mouth was closed was later reflected perfectly in numerous portraits that Francisco de Goya painted when she was queen.

An absorbing wife with a strong character, she shaped the king’s behavior, paving the way for the rapid political ascent of his favorite, Manuel Godoy. This, in turn, affected many events during Charles IV’s reign, and in the long run, it contributed to his dethronement. This painting is a fine example of Mengs’s court portraits. It still bears traces of Rococo elegance, but its formal and conceptual rigor foreshadow the esthetic ideals of Neoclassicism. Various replicas and interpretations of this portrait of Maria Luisa of Parma are known, and one is in the Museo del Prado’s collection (P2206) (Text drawn from Luna, J. J.: El Prado en el Ermitage, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011, pp. 174-177).

Technical data

Inventory number
Mengs, Anton Raphael
María Luisa of Parma, Princess of Asturias
Ca. 1765
Height: 152.1 cm; Width: 110.5 cm
Royal Collection (New Royal Palace, Madrid, "trascuartos de la Reina", 1794, [s.n.]).

Bibliography +

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.

Mayoral y Herrero, José, El prognatismo inferior en los Borbones de España. Tesis Doctoral, Odontología Clínica, Madrid, 1933, pp. lám.40.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier; Pita Andrade, José Manuel, Los retratos de los Reyes de España, Omega, Barcelona, 1948, pp. lám.158.

Goya and his times: Royal Academy Winter Exhibition, 1963-4:, Royal Academy of Arts in London, Londres, 1963, pp. 6.

Tüngel, Richard, 400 Jahre Kunst, Kultur, und Geschichte im Prado, Schweizer Verlagshaus, Zurich, 1964, pp. lám.127.

Honisch, Dieter, Anton Raphael Mengs Und Die Bildform des Fruhklassizismus, Aurel Bongers, Recklinghausen, 1965, pp. 102.

Boucher, François1703-1770, Histoire du Costume en Occident de L'Antiquite a Nos Jours, Flammarion, Paris, 1965, pp. 320/ lám.799.

Muller, Priscilla E., Jewels in Spain, 1500-1800: [a fully documented account of jewels, jewelers and their patrons in the Peninsula from the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella through that of Charles IV and Maria Luisa of Parma], The Hispanic Society of America, Nueva York, 1972, pp. 162/ lám.245.

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 Cultura, Zaragoza, 1977, pp. 79.

L' art européen á la cour d'Espagne au XVIIIe siecle, Reunion des musees nationaux, París, 1979, pp. 188.

Águeda Villar, Mercedes, Antonio Rafael Mengs: 1728-1779, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1980.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Age of Gold, Age of Iron. Renaissance Spain and Symbols of Monarchy, University Press of America, Lanham. Nueva York, 1985, pp. lám.1185.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 413-414.

Iglesias, María del Carmen, Carlos III y la ilustración: 1788-1988, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1988, pp. 440.

Symmons, Sarah, Goya. In Pursuit of Patronage, Gordon Fraser, Londres, 1988, pp. 103.

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

Herrero Carretero, Concha, Tapices y cartones de Goya, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1996, pp. 101.

Sancho, José Luis, Mengs at the Palacio Real. Madrid, The Burlington Magazine, 139, 1997, pp. 524/ lám.13.

Roettgen, Steffi, Anton Raphael Mengs, 1728-1779, I, Hirmer Verlag, München, 1999, pp. 250/ lám.180.

Obras Maestras del Museo del Prado, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo, 2002.

Enciclopedia del Museo del Prado, IV, Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2006, pp. 1478.

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

Rose-de Viejo, Isadora, Ausencias/Presencias: signos de presencia en los retratos de Goya, Anales de historia del arte, Vol. Extra, 2008, pp. 355-364 [360].

Carlos IV: mecenas y coleccionista, Patrimonio Nacional; Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2009, pp. 79, 146-147.

El Prado en el Hermitage, Museo Estatal del Hermitage: Museo del Prado, 2011, pp. 174-177.

Mano, José Manuel de la, Mariano Salvador Maella (1739-1819): dibujos. Catálogo razonado, I, Fundación Botín, Santander, 2011, pp. 304-307.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1429.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 964.
Mengs. / 964. Retrato de Maria Luisa, su esposa. / Tiene una rosa en la mano. / Alto 5 pies, 5 pulg, 6 lin; ancho 5 pies, 11 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 964.

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1794. Núm. s. n..
Trasquartos de la Rnª nra. Señora [...] [348] / Quatro Quadros de siete quartas de alto: retrato del Sr. Rey Dn Carlos Tercero, el de la Reina Dª Maria Amalia, y los de los Reyes nuestros Señores siendo Principes, á diez mil reales cada uno. Mengs ... 40.000

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in yellow. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Austrias y Borbones. Retratos de Reyes de España y de Príncipes y Princesas de Asturias
14.10.2019 - 15.12.2019

El Prado en el Hermitage
San Petersburgo
25.02.2011 - 29.05.2011

Carlos IV, mecenas y coleccionista
22.04.2009 - 19.07.2009

Obras Maestras del Museo del Prado - Tokio
05.03.2002 - 23.06.2002

Carlos III y la Ilustración
27.02.1989 - 16.04.1989

Carlos III y la Ilustración
09.11.1988 - 22.01.1989

Location +

Room 022 (On Display)


Displayed objects +

Order of the Starred Cross (or Military order of Maria Teresa of Austria)




Update date: 08-12-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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