Lines and Colors art blog

Nelson Shanks, 1937-2015

Nelson Shanks, 1937-2015
Nelson Shanks was a highly regarded painter or portraits, still life and landscape; noted in particular for his portraits of such figures as Luciano Pavarotti, Mstislav Rostropovich, Princess Diana, Pope John Paul II and U.S. Presidents Regan and Clinton.

Nelson Shanks died yesterday, August 28, 2015 at the age of 77.

I won’t go into detail here, as I already have in three previous posts, linked below. My post Nelson Shanks (update), from 2012, contains a fairly extensive list of links. The images on his Studio Incamminati Gallery and on the Art Renewal Center are often larger than those on his own website.

Shanks leaves a legacy not only in his own work, but as an influential teacher; and as the founder and Artistic Director of Studio Incamminati, an atelier-style school — and bastion of traditional realist painting — here in Philadelphia.

Shanks’ own style simultaneously kept and broke with tradition, exploring experimental aspects of contemporary portraiture. The image above, bottom is a self-portrait.


2 responses to “Nelson Shanks, 1937-2015”

  1. This guy painted great, amazingly realistic style, but to me (maybe only to me) there’s something disturbing about his faces, the way they stare at the viewer.
    “Because I’m the Pope!…and you’re not.”

    1. Yes. I get the impression that Shanks often wanted to engage the observer through the direct gaze of his subjects — as though he was staring at you through their eyes.