Anton Raphael Mengs (German, 1728-1779)

Death of Dido, n.d.


Death of Dido, n.d.

Ink and wash on paper 18 1/2 in. x 15 3/8 in. (46.99 cm x 39.05 cm)

Crocker Art Museum, E. B. Crocker Collection



  • One of the foremost artists of his day, Anton Raphael Mengs gained European fame and contributed much to the rise of Neoclassical painting. Born in a provincial town not far from Dresden, he traveled to Rome at the age of thirteen in the company of his father, a Danish painter. By 1751, he was appointed painter to Augustus II of Saxony, though he maintained his links to Italy and spent most of his time there. His many commissions for churches, noble families, and the Pope in these years made him an ideal candidate to teach at the new academy of figure drawing, the Accademia del Nudo, which was founded 1754.
    Mengs’s deep friendship with Johann Joachim Winckelmann was key for both artist and theorist: Winckelmann’s classical knowledge and ideas of beauty influenced the artist’s paintings, while Mengs’s experience in practical matters helped to develop Winckelmann’s ideas. In later years, the artist received commissions in Naples and Madrid as well as Rome, and his fame spread well beyond. Mengs’s own theoretical works were published posthumously.
    In this drawing, the body of Dido, queen of Carthage, is echoed by that of the Fury who cuts her life’s thread above. Abandoned by Aeneas, whose ship sails toward the horizon between the two bodies, Dido has built a funeral pyre and cast herself upon it. The drawing, with its clear, rhetorical gestures and accurate classical elements, shows elements of both the Baroque and Neoclassicism.

Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.


Contact | Hours | Directions

216 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Become a Member


216 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

General Information: 916.808.7000
Admission Desk: 916.808.1184


Tue – Sun: 10 AM – 5 PM
Thu: 10 AM – 9 PM
Closed Mondays*, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
*Open select Mondays
10 AM – 5 PM:
Presidents Day
Labor Day