May I Introduce Nelson Shanks?

1 May 2011

Portrait of His Holiness, John Paul II by Nelson Shanks, 2001, oil painting on canvas, 54 x 50.
Portrait of His Holiness, John Paul II by Nelson Shanks, 2001,
oil painting on canvas, 54 x 50.
Nelson Shanks: Weekend With the Masters Instructor

One of the most sought after teachers and portrait painters in the world and founder of the post-graduate school Studio Incamminati, Nelson Shanks has taught on the faculty of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Students League of New York, the National Academy of Design, The George Washington University, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, among others.

Among his notable portrait commissions are President William Jefferson Clinton; Diana, Princess of Wales and Charles, Lord Spencer; and His Holiness Pope John Paul II. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC; the Royal Palace, in Stockholm; Kensington Palace, in London; and Fortezza Firmafede, in Sarzana, Italy.

In the late 1990s, Nelson launched a successful series of workshops in response to the growing need for serious art instruction. The need for students to immerse themselves deeply in his teaching principles was made clear by the high demand and extensive oversubscriptions to these workshops, which led to the decision to open a full time atelier program, aptly named Studio Incamminati, which can be translated from Italian as "those who are progressing". Nelson sacrifices painting time to teach at Studio Incamminati as part of his total commitment to changing the world's view of art.

He is richly rewarded by pride in his students' progress and the presence of remarkable people who are attracted to this cause, willing to pledge and devote time in sincere measure.

An upcoming major solo exhibition will be held at the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg and Russian Academy of Art, Moscow in 2011. In 2006, Nelson received the Governor's Distinguished Arts Award, which recognizes a Pennsylvania artist of international fame or renown whose creations and contributions enrich the commonwealth. Among those contributions noted were his lifelong commitment to teaching and his establishment of Studio Incamminati. For more information, visit his website.

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