Nicola Simbari

Nicola Simbari

The Palette Knife Master

Nicola Simbari is a phenomenon in the world of modern art. For more than fifty years, he soared from one artistic period to another. Always succeeding brilliantly, he redefined the magic of color and form. Along the way, he took on his subjects as a panorama of everyday life. Sensuality becomes an overriding theme for Simbari, causing beauty and romance to reign supreme. 

As a painter, Simbari initially was interested in mainly the avant-garde movement. Braque was his first god, and later followed his admiration for Miró. Gradually, he became involved in an effort to tell a story with his paintings, so he changed to a more introverted approach. Meanwhile, Simbari began developing an admiration for Gauguin, Van Gogh, and de Staël. Gradually finding himself free from influence, he developed the style now recognized as Simbaresco. He began defining himself as a representational artist who went through numerous styles of painting including Abstract Expressionism and Geometric Abstraction, yet resolutely remaining a figurative painter due to his alluring fascination in people.

Throughout his travels, Simbari sketched incessantly in pencil or pastel. The paintings were done in his own studio under the strong light of the Italian sky and to a background of symphonic music by his favorite composers, which include Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, and Palestrina. Having been trained as an architect, Simbari handled his colors with an architect’s respect for the basic form. His paintings remained disciplined regardless of the brilliance of his colors and how freely he treated his subjects. His grasp of such essential elements in a subject enabled him to work freely and assuredly.

The entire world around him fascinated Simbari, and his subjects are all-embracing. The Italian countryside, the sea, flowers, native festivals, processions, café scenes, the Isle of Ischia, fishing villages, parades, boats on the seashore, lovely women in the sun, small coastal villages, gardens jeweled with flowers — all are part of his repertoire. No matter what the subject, in each painting Simbari embodies his credo which, in his own words is, “to express in the most satisfactory way possible, and as completely as you possibly can, your truest view, your truest feelings, about life and about people.”

James MuldoonNicola Simbari