Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768)

Anton Raphael Mengs German

Not on view

This idealized posthumous portrait depicts Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who is credited with the reevaluation of ancient Greek art through his work as an archaeologist and a pioneer in writing art history. His History of Ancient Art, published in 1764, became a bedrock of neoclassical thinking about the idealized European body as well as a key reference for travelers. In his portrait, Winckelmann holds a Greek edition of Homer’s Iliad, an allusion to his knowledge of classical poetry. The portraitist, Mengs, was a friend in Winkelmann’s often homoerotically charged social circle in Rome, but he worked throughout Europe.

Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768), Anton Raphael Mengs (German, Ústi nad Labem (Aussig) 1728–1779 Rome), Oil on canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.