Brian MacNeil is an artist of great talent and imagination and is one of the new generation of Realist painters that are the new avant-garde in the art world. Brian studied with us at the Angel Academy of Art, Florence, from 2004 to 2008 and showed himself to be an extremely gifted student, understanding, as though instinctively, what his instructors were teaching.

Situated in Florence, Italy, the Angel Academy teaches the methods passed down through the centuries, from the Renaissance to the late nineteenth century, and explores a variety of expression within the concepts of representational painting. Such painting has always been the mainstream of European art.

However, in the twentieth century, art schools became more and more interested in Abstractionism and, ultimately, in Conceptual Art. The idea of the importance of the artist, and of the artist’s genius, overcame the interest in the works of art themselves, until, finally, there was no work of art (as with Conceptual Art), and the twentieth-century schools stopped teaching the physical and mental skills necessary to the production of a representational painting or sculpture. To counter this, and to fill the need of tens of thousands of young artists who wanted to learn how representational paintings are made, the modern ateliers began to form in the 1970s. They base their programmes on those of the nineteenth-century ateliers that taught such great painters as Sargent, Whistler, Leighton, Alma-Tadema, Waterhouse, Cassatt, Beaux, Ciseri, Tito, Bonheur, Bonnat, Bouguereau....

The new generation of painters, Brian among them, is painting some remarkable paintings. This is truly a new renaissance, and Brian is now one of its great champions.

Michael John Angel
Studio Director
Angel Academy of Art, Florence