Nicola Simbari (1927-2012)

Nicola Simbari was exposed to artistic inspirations at a very early age. He was born in San Lucido, a fishing village in Calabria, but when he was three years old his father moved the family to Rome. Simbari’s father was a builder and architect in the Vatican museums, and that allowed his young son to be exposed to the masterful Sistine Chapel frescoes by Michelangelo.

While in Rome, Simbari studied for four years at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Rome, focusing not only on painting, but architecture as well. He showed such prowess in the latter that the Accademia decided to make him a member of their architecture faculty. While successful in the realm of architecture, his true passion was painting. Thus, he decided to give up his teaching position in order to focus his full capacities on the medium. Since his first one-man show in Rome in 1953, many important private collectors both in Europe and America have acquired Simbari’s paintings.

Nicola Simbai, image courtesy of the Findlay Institute

Though he dabbled in other media such as sculpture and lithography, Simbari still favored painting above all others. He was interested in the results of the avant-garde movement above all other influences in regards to his paintings. Simbari counted Braque, Miro, Gauguin, and Van Gogh among his most significant inspirations. When he eventually broke away from those influences, Simbari developed the style now deemed Simbaresco. This unique style embodies the essential combination of light, dramatic qualities, and brilliant colors that forge together to form Simbari’s dynamic palette knife paintings. He described himself as an artist who experimented in several styles of painting, but who has always been, above all else, a figurative painter. His greatest joy and interest always came from painting the people he encountered, and he embodied the spirit of each place where those encounters occurred in his stunning canvases.

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