Portrait of B.

An exercise in what makes a portrait "classical."

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David Mayernik

About David Mayernik

I am an artist and architect in the Renaissance tradition. I studied architecture at the University of Notre Dame, with a year abroad in Rome, and returned to Rome as a fellow of the American Academy. While at the Academy I studied fresco painting with Leonetto Tintori, and I returned to the Academy to paint my first fresco commission in their Library. I have tried to balance art and architecture over my career, and have been able to introduce frescoes into my own buildings, along with a cycle in an historic church in the Mugello, Tuscany. Since my student days in Rome I have painted en plein air in watercolor, but over the last decade have taken up oil in the field, and combined it with studio capriccios--for which I wrote an article in American Artist. My recent projects of interest are painted sets for Chicago's Baroque Haymarket Opera Company.

As a painter and draftsman I am especially interested in the allegorical and narrative tradition of the Renaissance and Baroque. I am at work on a book on the theme of Emulation, which is also the subject of my blog. I think emulation is the key to understanding the way the Old Masters engaged with each other, and with the past. I see myself in a constant state of emulation of my models, like Bernini, Carlo Marratti, Sebastiano Conca, and others. And for me, drawing, or disegno, is the key to both mastering the classical figurative tradition and integrating the arts.