NGV National Gallery of Victoria

Maria Amalia of Saxony

Anton Raphael Mengs
Bohemian 1728–1779, worked in Spain 1761–70, 1774–77
Maria Amalia of Saxony c.1761–63
oil on canvas
154.0 x 110.0 cm
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P02201)

Lived: 24 November 1724 – 27 September 1760

Married to Charles III.

Maria Amalia was a vibrant, educated and much loved Queen of Naples. She had thirteen children, seven of whom grew to adulthood. Under her influence, Charles III developed a more discerning appreciation of art that led to commissions being given to leading contemporary Italian artists such as Francesco Solimena, Francesco de Mura and Giuseppe Bonito, all of whom painted canvases glorifying the reign of Charles III and Maria Amalia. Maria Amalia invited Anton Raphael Mengs to Naples in 1759 to paint portraits of the royal family, where his success led to him being enticed to work at the court in Madrid. Meng’s influence would eventually spread throughout Spain, where his classicism and use of cool colours became models for contemporary Spanish artists. Maria Amalia died from tuberculosis a year after becoming Queen of Spain. After her death Charles continued the projects they had initiated together.