Antonio Francesco Mensi, Portrait Of A Priest

Antonio Francesco Mensi, Portrait Of A Priest

A fine 19th-century portrait of a seated Roman Catholic priest by Italian painter, Antonio Francesco Mensi (1800-1888). He’s wearing a clerical collar, a buttoned waistcoat over a white shirt, a black coat, and a gold pocket watch chain with religious iconography.

We imported the painting from Rome and the subject is likely Italian. We love his nonchalant expression and posture - with one arm casually draped over the chair. How do you feel about him?

Mensi was a gifted artist - note the attention to detail on the hand with its visible bone structure and perfectly rendered fingers. The pocket watch chain is also a masterclass in light and shade.

Mensi's talent was spotted from an early age and he gained an apprenticeship at the studio of Paolo Borroni (1749-1819). Following on from this, he trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence under Pietro Benvenuti (1769-1844). He's particularly known for his neoclassical religious scenes but also produced numerous portraits, including for Prime Minister, Urbano Rattazzi.

The portrait is signed/dated and held within a gilded frame with a decorative inner border.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 29” x 34½” / 74cm x 88cm
Year of creation: 1862
Provenance: Italy
Condition: Very presentable following a light restoration. Areas of craquelure but the paint layer is stable. Canvas relined. Frame with some age-related wear.