Ambrosiana

POTRAIT OF CLEMENT XIII
ANTON RAPHAEL MENGS

Bohemian painter Anton Raphael Mengs painted three portraits of Pope Clement XIII. Born Carlo Rezzonico in 1693 to wealthy Venetian patricians, he was bishop of Padua, where he was so loved by people that he was called “The saint”. He was elected Pope on 6 July 1758, in a very difficult period for the Church, above all for the pressures made by Portugal and France on the Apostolic See, for the suppression of the Jesuits. Clement XIII’s predecessor, Benedict XIV, spoke of him when he was still bishop of Pavia: “Cardinal Rezzonico is absolutely the most worthy prelate we have in Italy; he lives with his property, earning ecclesiastical income only for the benefit of the poor. He is tireless in pastoral visits and in his palace he lives as in a monastery “. In the portraits of Clement XIII executed by him, Anton Raphael Mengs managed to highlight the Pope’s most appreciated qualities: his goodness and gentleness.

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