Anton Raphael Mengs was born March 12, 1728 at Usti in Bohemia. His father was a Danish painter who established himself first at Dresden, and in 1741 left for Rome with his son. In 1749 Mengs was appointed as first painter to Frederick Augustus of Saxony. He spent much time in Rome, where he married Margarita Quazzi who had modelled for him in 1748.
In 1754 Mengs became director of the Vatican school of painting. He was also called to the court of Charles III of Spain. There Mengs produced some of his best work, among which the ceiling of the banqueting-hall, the subject of which was the Triumph of Trajan and the Temple of Glory.
After completing this work in 1777, Mengs returned to Rome, where he died two years later on June 29, 1779, in poor circumstances. He left twenty children, of whom seven were pensioned by the king of Spain.