Sophia Loren’s Mercedes Gullwing. Peter Engels unveils his masterpiece in historic Antwerp. Meet the maestro of the palette knife.

Interview with artist Peter Engels in his studio in Brasschaat.

“Peter, how wonderful that we are here today. We have heard rumors about a new artwork of yours that has been given a place in an iconic location in Antwerp. Can you tell us more about that?”

Peter Engels: “Hello, it’s a pleasure to talk to you about my recent painting. Have you seen it yet? It resides in the Goodwood Art Gallery at Reyndersstraat 6, right in the heart of old Antwerp. It’s actually quite symbolic. The gallery itself is located in the historic residence of the 16th century painter, Jacob Jordaens. The walls breathe art and now one of my works is hanging there, which feels really great!”

“We have already marked our calendars for a grand opening in mid-September. What can visitors expect?

Peter Engels: “Don’t miss the opening weekend of September 16 and 17. I will be there in person from 2pm to 6pm. It promises to be a great experience with fellow art lovers and I would love to talk to everyone.”

“There is a beautiful legend that links the Mercedes Gullwing to Sophia Loren. Can you elaborate on that and maybe tell us more about the intricate details of your painting?”

Peter Engels: “You know, there is an old legend that the gullwing doors of the Mercedes resemble Sophia Loren’s eyebrows. It’s a funny thought and I loved incorporating references like that into my art. A fun exercise is to look very closely at the pallet knife strokes. When you get close to the painting, it seems abstract. And here comes the magic: as you step back, the image sharpens, revealing the majesty of Sophia Loren and the Gullwing. There is one more thing I would like to point out. The fading palm tree avenue in the background. It’s a subtle detail, but one I’m particularly fond of. It adds depth and a touch of mystery, grandeur and exoticism. I hope people take the time to notice and appreciate it.”

“Your paintings often merge multiple worlds and your latest one seems no different. Can you talk about how you brought together art, film and classic cars for this particular masterpiece?”

Peter Engels: “When I prepare a painting, make and refine the sketches, I think about how I can intertwine different worlds. This particular piece is where the charm of art, the allure of cinema and my fascination with classic cars come together. As an artist with a rare, unique pallet knife technique and a special color palette, this painting of the famous Sophia Loren next to her iconic 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing is a wonderful vintage challenge. Imagine the story behind it. Gifted to Sophia Loren by her friend, the illustrious filmmaker Carlo Ponti, this car became as legendary as the actress herself. My canvas tells a fictional but evocative scene in which Sophia Loren takes a moment to pose for me during the Rally del Cinema – a scenic road trip that begins in the ancient streets of Rome and ends a thousand miles away in scenic Sanremo.

While the Mercedes 300sl Gullwing created its stories and changed hands several times, its association with Sophia Loren faded over the decades until the car was rediscovered by an observant classic car enthusiast 60 years later. For me it is more than worth the effort to immortalize this legendary ‘Sophia Loren Gullwing’ together with the famous Italian actress in a fictional painted snapshot.

The sepia undertones of my painting evoke deep nostalgia. This vintage flair is my tribute to the golden eras of film, fashion and classic car craftsmanship. My intention was not only to portray the eternal elegance of Sophia Loren, but also the distinct sophistication of the Mercedes Gullwing, which would transport viewers back to an era of unparalleled glamour.”

“Thank you for sharing your insights and passion for your art!”

Peter Engels: “My pleasure. I invite everyone to come and experience this fusion of history and art. Let my rendition of the world of Sophia Loren be a gateway for you to begin your own timeless journey.”


PS : The Sophia Loren painting found a new home with the owner of Mercedes Gullwing which was owned by Sophia Loren in the 1950s. Where in the world could this work of art by Peter Engels be better placed?

Watch the painting and the video