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December 23, 2002


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will display the portrait of Pope John Paul II by internationally renowned artist Mr. Nelson Shanks at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia for three days in January 2003. The public is invited to view the painting, titled Pope John Paul II. Mr. Shanks, of Andalusia, Bucks County, visited with His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, twice in preparation for painting the portrait. The Patrons of the Vatican Museum commissioned the painting which stands 54 inches high and 52 inches wide and will hang in a Vatican museum alongside the works of artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael.

Media Preview
Monday, January 6, 2003
6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Open to the Public
Tuesday, January 7, 2003 through Thursday, January 9, 2003
8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
All are welcome and there is no charge

Mr. Shanks' work includes commissioned portraits of Her Royal Highness, Diana, The Princess of Wales, His Majesty King Gustav and Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, former President Ronald Reagan and opera singer Luciano Pavarotti. He has also been commissioned to paint the portrait of former President Bill Clinton for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for Johns Hopkins University.

After the exhibition in Philadelphia, the portrait will become part of a United States tour of Vatican art and important objects which opens at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on March 2, 2003. St. Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes will tour to three other venues (Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Cincinnati Museum Center and San Diego Museum of Art) and concludes September 6, 2004. At that time, the painting Pope John Paul II will arrive at the Vatican.


Nelson Shanks has served as professor at the University of the Arts and as distinguished visiting professor in Fine Arts at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. for l990 and conducted seminars at numerous universities, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the New York Academy of Art. He has taught at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Memphis Academy of Arts and the Robert and Mary Montgomery Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. In l993, Arcadia University awarded him a Ph.D. in Fine Arts. "Advanced painting workshops taught by Nelson Shanks attract hundreds of artists from across the country." [Arts & Antiques, Summer 1997] He is clearly one of the most sought after teachers in the world and founder of the post-graduate school, Incaminati.

In Italy, he studied at l'Accademia d'Belle Arte in Florence and with Pietro Annigoni. He traveled and studied extensively throughout Europe. He has received grants: the Greenshields Foundation (twice) and the Stacey Foundation (three times) between l96l and l974. Earlier he studied at the University of Kansas and the Kansas City Art Institute with Wilbur Niewald and in New York at the National Academy of Design and The Art Students League with Ivan Olinsky, Robert Brackman, Edwin Dickinson and privately with John Koch and Henry Hensche.

His work has been exhibited in many museums and galleries, including the National Academy of Design; Hirschl & Adler Galleries; Coe Kerr and FAR Galleries in New York; Dayton Art Institute; the Butler Institute of American Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Philadelphia Art Alliance; the New Jersey State Museum; the Allentown Art Museum; the Palmer Museum of Art; George Washington University; the University of the Arts; Oglethorpe University Museum; LaSalle University; the Royal Palace, Stockholm; and Kensington Palace, London. A major one-man exhibition was held at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as well as Hirschl & Adler Galleries in 1996 where his portrait of HRH The Princess of Wales was the feature painting in the Hirschl & Adler exhibition, "Yanks Paint Brits." His work is in very distinguished European and American collections. He is currently represented by the Forum Gallery in New York City.

Commissioned portraits of noted figures include: Her Royal Highness, Diana, The Princess of Wales, His Majesty King Gustav and Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, Queen Julianna of the Netherlands, Former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Luciano Pavarotti, J. Carter Brown, Katharine Graham, Judge Guido Calabresi, Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop, Robert Wood Johnson, Jr., Mrs. Robert Wood Johnson, Jr., James Burke, Marcus Wallenberg, Dr. Peter Wallenberg, Ms. Darla Moore, Mr. Lionel Pincus, Mr. Jerry Speyer, Chairman of the Board, Museum of Modern Art, Arthur O. Sulzberger, Sr., Chairman of the Board, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chairman Emeritus New York Times; Lord Charles Spencer, Mary McFadden and many others. He has been commissioned to paint the portrait of President Clinton for the National Portrait Gallery; Pope John Paul II for the Vatican Museum; and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NewYork City, for Johns Hopkins University.


Donna Farrell
Broadcast and Media Specialist

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