Marco Bronzini is a rarity in the art world. Most performers – and believe me, all art is a performance – excel at one thing. They are musicians or painters or writers. They make their bones in one field and one field only. That’s how and why they are known.
Not so Marco Bronzini. He is a renowned painter, with canvases in the Paul Mellon Collection, the Morse Museum of American Art and many private collections, including those of the Astor and Guinness families.
And he is a published author, with two novels to his credit and a marvelous how-to book, “The Ten Commandments of Fine Art.” But don’t stop there. Marco is also an accomplished teacher. Just ask his many students. His studio at 2950 Tamiami Trail
North is a meeting place for aspiring painters and many experienced ones trying to get better.
Marco has been in Naples since 1998 when he opened his first art school here. He’s been around for a while. So what’s new? What raised his profile just now? The answer is the recent publication of “Vizcaya,” a fictional rendering of a journey back in time in James Deering’s famous Coconut Grove mansion. The book is attracting national attention. It’s his second, following “The Sun Fisher,” a novel published in 2020.
For those who don’t know Marco Bronzini, his biography is an intriguing one. Born in Provence in the south of France in 1957, he began art studies at the age of 16 with the sculptor John Skeaping, then moved to London where he later graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts. He married, came to the U.S. and obtained his citizenship in 1989. Marco’s Naples studio is a blaze of color, with bold canvases that reflect his personality. His work is interspersed with paintings by his students, now 70 strong and growing.
I asked him about his philosophy of teaching art. He said, “Each artist has his own identity. I never try to teach them to paint like me. Each has his own style. That must be allowed to grow.” He’s proactive in his teaching. I watched him move from easel to easel, pointing things out, making suggestions, occasionally adding a brushstroke of his own. And true to his philosophy, every single canvas reflected a different style. The atmosphere was low key and positive, and his students all seemed happy to be there.
Longtime student Addie Castaldo agrees. “Marco is always encouraging. He’s quite remarkable in bringing out your individual
talent. He gently suggests, then let’s you make the call.” I asked Marco what his greatest accomplishment was. His answer: “Building up the art school and studio from scratch.” He started with three students. He estimates he’s had some 400 over the years, including many in Orlando where he taught before coming to Naples. He goes back to Orlando once a month. “They won’t let me get away,” he said.
And Marco continues to paint and write. The passion is evident, but he said discipline is just as important. When I asked him what his greatest regret was, he said, “Not taking myself seriously as an artist. I wasted many years.” He’s not wasting any more. In addition to adding to his considerable body of paintings, he’s building his writing career and is now 130,000 words into his third novel.
And, of course, he’s continuing to shape the skills of his many grateful students. A triple threat indeed