Together with his father and teacher, the Dresden court painter Mengs Israel went in 1741 to Rome, where he worked under a parent's guidance and diligently studied the antique and the works of Michelangelo and Raphael. On his return in 1744 in Dresden, received from king August III the title of court painter, but soon went back to Rome. There he painted several pictures, and met with General approval, and stayed until 1749 To 1761 he was invited to the court of Spanish king Charles III. Since that time, lived and worked in Madrid, then in Rome, where he died.
Born in Aussig (now Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic) March 22, 1728 in the family of the painter I. Mengs. Studied with his father, with him having gone to Rome to study the monuments of antiquity and the Renaissance (1741). Returning home, he lived in Dresden (1745-1746), and then again came to Rome, converted to Catholicism and spent in the "eternal city", most of his creative life (1746-1749, 1754-1761, 1769-1773 and 1775). In 1749-1754 re-worked in Dresden. In 1755 he met with the I. Winkelmann, which in its aesthetic looks decisive influence.
In the early period came to the fore primarily as a master pastel portrait (a Portrait of his father, Elector Augustus III; both works — 1740-ies, gallery "Old masters", Dresden). Subsequently, increasingly turning to oil painting, was among the leading portrait painters of Europe, creating images full of living grace and strict harmony (Pope Clement XIII, 1758, national art gallery, Bologna; I. Winkelmann, approx. 1761, known in several versions; Spanish Charles III, 1761, Prado, Madrid; the self-portraits of different years, — the Hermitage, 1770-ies, etc.). Another great fame brought Mengs numerous paintings on the ancient-mythological and Christian themes (the judgment of Paris, CA. 1757; Annunciation, John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness, Perseus and Andromeda, all three paintings — 1774-1777; all — Hermitage, St.-Petersburg), as well as monumental-decorative works (the fresco of Parnassus on the ceiling of the Villa Albani in Rome, 1761, is the most famous software and his work; the mural Hall of the papyri with the Allegory of History in the Vatican library, 1771-1773; etc.). Considering the Baroque, with its passionate emotion "about style", cultivated a noble, the restrained art that combines ancient forms with Renaissance flavor.
In 1761-1769 × 1774-1776 worked at the court of Charles III in Madrid, where he performed in particular, a number of frescoes in the Royal Palace (1762-1768). Was President of the Roman Academy of St. Luke (1774). His views on art outlined in the book Thoughts about a beautiful and taste in painting (1762), where he put forward as the main task of the artist is picking up particles of ideal in life — to recreate the "taste of perfection" that had the ancient Greeks and the leading figures of the Renaissance.
Mengs died in Rome 29 June 1779.