Antonio Mancini moved with his family from Rome to Naples in 1865 and studied at the Fine Arts Institute under Domenico Morelli while also attending evening classes with the sculptor Stanislao Lista. He presented works featuring popular Neapolitan characters at the Paris Salon of 1872 and was noticed by the art dealer Goupil. He then returned to Paris in 1875 and 1877–78 and became acquainted with Impressionist painting. A new approach to light and a focus on the physical substance of paint led to works of ever-greater freedom culminating in the application of pieces of cloth and glass onto the canvas. While a series of nervous breakdowns led to hospitalisation in Naples in 1881, he continued to paint and produced some intense self-portraits. Having been discharged in 1883, he moved to Rome and visited London twice in the first decade of the new century. He stayed in Frascati as the guest of the collector and patron of the arts Ferdinand du Chéne de Vère from 1911 to 1918 and took part in the 12th Venice Biennale in 1920 with a solo exhibition that marked his success in terms of public acclaim and the art market.