Interview with Nicholas Petrucci

Nicholas Petrucci

Surfing on the net, I have discovered the website of Nicholas Petrucci. I was taken in and loved so much his paintings that I decided to contact him. Here is the interview I had with him.

Thank you Nicholas for allowing me to publish this interview and illustrating it with some pictures of your beautiful paintings.


Nicholas Petrucci, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born an artist but I was persuaded to start my studies in medicine at University of Illinois.  I finished my degree in art, but as I was only taught modern art, I had to teach myself the skills of traditional (Old Masters’) painting and then portraiture in order to capture the elegance and mystery of human emotion. I learned advanced techniques from leaders in the field such as watercolorist Prof. Edward Betts, classical portrait artist Ralph Wolfe Cowen, and Italian Renaissance technical master instructor Frank Covino, all of whom encouraged me and allowed me to learn directly from them.  Not only have I studied all types of art but I have also taught art and get particular enjoyment from teaching enthusiastic young people.

What is your preferred medium and why?

The Old Masters style is oil on board, and that is my preference, though I often use canvas and occasionally enjoy using water colors and some other untraditional types of paint when I have time to play with modern art.  Most significantly, however, is that I have developed a unique type of varnish. It is said that it makes the portraits seem three dimensional.

Do you have a favorite artist? If yes, what draws you to that person’s work?

Rembrandt, clearly, but also the French neoclassical portrait artist and political commentator, Jacques-Louis Davíd. It has been said that my dedication to conservation which shows in my classical portraiture is similar to Davíd’s revolutionary commentary while painting the French aristocracy.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your paintings?

Just living.  Human beings, the beauty of nature, and I read a number of art publications as well to see where my industry is going.  If I were to live another hundred years I could not paint all the ideas I already have jotted down.  My next Guardian is Paul Jones, a man who says he is a hunter and fisherman with some financial expertise.  After the Guardians project is complete, I want to paint a hunting falcon with its traces. I want to paint a modern day Madame X in honor of John Singer Sargeant.  I want to paint human emotion, and although heart breaking to see, perhaps I could paint some of the groupings of Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe.  Realistically, however, I would prioritize commissioned works, painting to the needs of buyers. My art is, after all, a business, too.

Have you tried other kind of arts like photography ?

My wife, Connie Bransilver, is the photographer.  She has taught me many field techniques that otherwise might have taken me years to acquire.  She says I have “the eye” and just have to learn techniques.  One funny example happened ten years ago.  I borrowed her 400mm lens to photograph an eagle.  I had never used such a long lens, so when the eagle flew toward me I dropped to the ground, only to realize that the eagle was still some distance away.  It had only appeared to be swooping down on me because I was viewing it through the 400mm lens.


Tell us about your project in the Everglades

Education and understanding are keys to protecting the Everglades. The Guardians of the Everglades® installation gives the conservation story emotional appeal by focusing on the power of leadership and the subtle beauty of these unique wetlands.  It features 11 life size oil portraits of leaders along with video interviews, written narratives, and photography of endangered species presented on eight foot sheer panels.  Central are the portraits: a mixture of the familiar — Old Masters techniques — and the surprising — living leaders of Everglades conservation.


Thank you Nicholas Petrucci for this interview. I invite all my readers to visit your fantastic website and I personally recommend to visit the Everglade National Park in Florida.


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