John Singer Sargent's Antonio Mancini (Frontpage)  (Thumbnail Index)  (What's New)  (Refer This Site)




Sampling of works
by Mancini
[FRAMES - The work of Antonio Mancini]

Prevetariello in Preghiera
c. 1872-1873

After the duel


Le Due Bambole

The Poor Schoolboy

Ragazzo Malato

Bacco Fanciullo

Bambino con Maschera

View of Naples

Italian Peasant Boy

Saint Johnthe Baptist
early 1890s

Portrait of a Girl

Study of a Nude Girl

Artist's Father
c. 1903

Portrait of a Young Boy



de Lafenis

Portrait of Young Girl
1917 or before

Smiling Girl



Antonio Mancini
John Singer Sargent -- American painter 
Galleria Nazional d'Arte Moderna, Rome
Oil on canvas
67 x 50.5 cm (26 1/2 x 19 3/4 in.)
 Jpg: Local

Painted in little more than one hour with heavy impasto, in tribute to a friend and follow artist: Antonio Mancini (1852-1930) who was an Italian impresisonist who used heavy paint and expressive brush work.

Supposedly, the painting was given to Antonio (the sitter) in appreciation as a gift, who in turn inscribed it (sometime later in London) under Sargent's signature with the words: "Mancini ringrazia / devotamente Mr Sargent / che e così buono / con il pittore cattivo Manciney / Londra" [English translation]. -- It was then dated, but illegible to us now.

Eva Wertheimer/Antonio Mancini

Mancini then gave the painting away to the cook of Asher Wertheimer -- both men knew the Wertheimers well -- you can see Sargent had painted him with one of Wertheimer's daughters in '04. Somehow, sometime, Sargent's gift made it's way back to Sargent -- it's thought by Asher Wetheimer. Mancini's inscriptions is known because it's shown up in photos of the painting in Sargent's studio, but it has since been cut away -- believed done by Sargent.

John, we know, believed Mancini to be a great painter and Sargent went to great lengths to promote the artist to clients. To have his gift find its way back with that inscription and knowing his friend's history of melancholy and emotional instability would have been tough.

When exactly the painting made its way back, we don't know. But Sargent kept it with his personal collection (uncropped, or at least long enough to be caught in a photo), along with a number of paintings by Mincini (which he cherished) and only near the end of his life -- and in honour to his friend -- did he part with it -- as a gift (less the Mincini's inscription) to the Galleria Nazional d'Arte Moderna, Rome, in 1925, where it would pay proper tribute to his friend and painter.
(Ormond and Kilmurray; Portraits of the 1890s)

* * *

He was born in Rome in 1852 and at an early age of twelve (‘65) was registered at the Naples art academy "Istituto di Belle Arti." By the time he was only eighteen (‘70) and without ever having been there, he had his first painting hanging at the Paris Salon. He graduate from the academy in '73 and he and his friend Vincenzo Gemito went in together on a studio in Napels. He spent much of his time painting dancers, street performers and homeless children.

His first trip to Paris came in 1877 when he met a number of the French Impressionist – possibly meeting Sargent at this time as well. He was so taken by what they were doing that he loosened his own brushwork and more often lightened his pallet thereafter with heavy - heavy impasto. Like most artists, Mancini struggled financially until a Dutch painter and collector Hendrik Willem Mesdag stepped on as his benefactor (’85) signing him to a contract.

Sargent also actively encourage him to come to London where Sargent could introduce him to a number patrons.

he really had a flair for the theatrical in his composition -- "After the duel" of course, being one of the more obvious examples.

Walter Richard Sickert, a mutual friend of both Sargent and Mancini, explained Mancini’s sometimes very unusual method in 1927:

His paintings were done through a wire grille, whose squares correspond with a grille before the sitter. The marks of the grille remain. The sitter being, as it were, pinned down, retained of his mobility alone the facial expression. But, trembling and snorting within that restriction, there is an extraordinary vivacity, there is power and a dashing impasto.

This can be seeb best in his panting of "de Lafenis".

Not only did he employ this unusual method but he also used materials such as shards of glass, and foil within the paint to give the painting more illumination -- again "de Lafenis" is a documented example.
Dordrechts Museum)

It may have been Antonio Mancini who influenced Sargent to incorporate things such as glass and other elements in his Boston Public Library murals.

John Singer Sargent

Pagan Gods detail of Astarte

Antonio died in Rome in 1930. In 1940 a major Memorial Exhibition was held in Turin.



Sargent and Italy, 2002-2003



From: Bill Angresano
an gr
Date: Wed, 02 Feb 2005

What a beautiful website, maybe I overlooked mention of one of Sargent's most significant friends AND influences Antonio Mancini. Could you shed some light on that? I will certainly tell you everything I know.

Irma Gilgore is one of the foremost experts in America on Mancini and besides helping write a book, owns more paintings of Mancini then any other American and has a MUSEUM in Florida!! Devoted to 19th century Italian art.

Let me tell you how I first got to know of Antonio Mancini artist, it was in Boston at the SARGENT show years back with a fellow painter and friend. We went to see that show and Fredrick Maulhaupt a cape Ann painter. Well we had time to kill and visited Isabella Gardner museum in Boston and when I first saw Mancini's "The Standard Bearer for the feast" [n/a] I nearly cried it was so beautiful, well done emotional and powerful! Who the heck is this guy? I wanted to know, I found out quite a bit, Sargent loved his work and his portrait approach and said as much when you read his letters regarding Mancini.

When we were done at Gardner Museum we went back to the Fine art museum (Boston) and other than the Sargent show the first room I walked into I was magnetized towards a life sized painting of a half naked man on a large rock with staff in his hand, powerfully painted thick brushy accurate strokes and values and anatomy and etc etc etc I was floored who painted this some old old Master? No Antonio Mancini did and the painting was St. John the Baptist

Whew! I was floored .

Since then I make it my business to hunt down any and all images and reading regarding this exceptional artist.

Let me know what you find much luck and congratulations on your website!

From: Natasha

. . .As to Mancini I love him for a lot of reason, that he is a wonderful painter as you say is only one of them but just as a story he is such a great guy to try to understand – I love the pathos of it, and that Sargent was such a strong supporter of him is telling, I think.

From: Bill Angresano

Let's stay in touch Natasha, I respect your devotion and love of Sargent his art and technique and that wonderful turn of the century when painters knew and shared lives and work with each other.

Next week I start a commission to paint a World Boxing Champion named Arturo Gatti who lives in Hoboken I will share any photos that occur from the sittings, HBO Network is sending a photographer to witness.

I will send you examples of my work for conversation sake. Your 100 percent right when you say Mancini was a character in the true sense of the word!! His portraits rival the greatest of all time very emotional very candid, honest portrayals.



P.S. Mancini like Jules Bastien Lepage, Fortuny, L'Hermitte and Dagnan Bouveret are way over due for a retro show





John Sinegr Sargent Virtual Gallery
By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2004 all rights reserved
Created 12/21/2004