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.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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