DON TROIANI | A Closer Look

DON TROIANI is a soul lost in time; a twenty-first century artist to whom the life of the common soldier of the American Revolution through the Civil War is as familiar and vivid as the surroundings of his Connecticut studio. While there are other painters who have turned their attention to historical art, none have done so with the enthusiasm, insight and historical accuracy of this accomplished recorder of drama and detail.

     In the spirit of presenting historical truth through art, Don Troiani has personally set uncompromising standards of excellence and authenticity in his field that few others can equal. Models are chosen with the greatest care to achieve the proper look of the men in Colonial and Victorian America.  The garb and gear of each figure are painstakingly researched.  Period settings are found and researched, sometimes sending the artist hundreds of miles from home to examine battlefields and structures firsthand.  Because of the great amount of research that goes into one of his works, it is often years between a painting's conception and the actual moment the brush is put to canvas.

     Indeed, Troiani's lifelong focus on military heritage enables him to present that subject with credibility second to none.  For four decades he has methodically built one of the greatest private artifact collections of Civil War, 1812 and Revolutionary War, World War II uniforms, equipage, insignia and weapons which he calls on to add the unique dimension of realism he is so well known for.  An expert researcher with a personal military library of thousands of volumes, he is assisted in his search for the truth by a select network of advanced collectors, curators and historians whom he corresponds with regularly and who open their own collections and archives to him.

     Hollywood has enlisted him as consultant on "Civil War Uniforms and Equipage" for the acclaimed feature film "Cold Mountain" starring Nicole Kidman, Rene Zellweger and Jude Law for which he received screen credit.  Also in "Cold Mountain , The Journey from book to film."  Troiani has also been military advisor (and made appearances) on all 52 episodes of A&E and History Channel's "Civil War Journal" and the miniseries "The American Revolution".  Television appearances on  "Missing Reward", "Incurable Collector", and "Hunt for Amazing Treasures" are also among his credits.

     Because of his extensive knowledge of military artifacts, Troiani is regularly contacted by major museums and collectors from across the country that greatly value his firsthand experience.  He has appraised collections in the Connecticut State Capitol, Connecticut State Library, Atlanta History Center (Atlanta Historical Society), and Confederate Memorial Hall, New Orleans, auction houses and private individuals.  Numerous items from his collection have appeared in the acclaimed Time-Life "Echoes Of Glory" series on the Civil War and countless other publications.  Other of his artifacts have been loaned for the exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution, The West Point Museum, Delaware Historical Society, Connecticut Museum of History, Pamplin Historical Park, Virginia Historical Society and the National Park Service Visitors Center in Gettysburg, PA.

     Troiani's artwork has appeared on television productions on NBC/Universal , CPTV, CNN, America Online, "The O'Reilly Factor", the A&E, Military and Discovery channels and in uncounted prestigious publications including: “U.S. Department of State”, "The Washington Post",  "The New York Times", " Los Angeles Times", "US News and World Reports", "The Washington Times", "National Geographic", "USA Today", "American Heritage", "American Rifleman", "Civil War Times", “The Arizona Republic", "America's Civil War", "The Hartford Courant", "Southwest Art", "Southern Accents", "The Boston Globe", "Connecticut Magazine", "Smithsonian", "Antiques and Arts Weekly", "Litchfield County Times", "Coin World", "Waterbury Republican American", "Civil War News", "Danbury News Times", “VFW Magazine”,  "The Courier News", “Barnes and Noble Books”, “Sterling Publishing”, "The Gettysburg Times", "America's Civil War", "The Bridgeport Post", "Military History", "Man at Arms", "Numismatist", "The Quarterly Journal of Military History", “Pallasch Magazine (Austria)”, “P.M. Magazine” (Germany), “Publicat” (Poland)   "International Churchill Society", “Militerhistorie” (Norway), "Confederate Veteran", "Art Business News", "North and South Magazine", “Civil War Preservation Trust”, "The Times Picayune", "Warner Brothers Productions",  both publications of the "Daughters/Sons of the American Revolution" and "Antiques Roadshow FYI Magazine".

     Troiani has also authored or co-authored "Don Troiani's Civil War", "Soldiers in America 1754-1865", "Military Buttons of the American Revolution", and "Don Troiani's Regiments and Uniforms of the Civil War", "Don Troiani's American Battles", "Don Troiani's Soldier's of the American Revolution", and "Military Buttons and Accoutrement Plates of the American Revolution"  in addition to numerous articles on military artifacts.

     "You can look at a picture of an artifact for days and still not know it. But examining it in your own hands reveals its texture, its substance and how it works," explains Troiani.  Many times he has had costly reproductions of rare or delicate original items hand-crafted so they can be used actively by his models

     Born in New York City in 1949, Troiani's future as a premier interpreter of history seemed pre-destined.  His father, an accomplished commercial artist, encouraged his talented son and kept him supplied with paper, paint and direction.  His mother, a successful antiques dealer, nurtured her son's interest in the past and showed him the importance of having a three-dimensional view of history. By the time he began perfecting his skills at the Pennsylvania Academy Of Fine Arts and New York City's Art Students League, his role as a consummate realist was already clear.

     Since launching his professional career before the Bicentennial and demonstrating his gift for combining art and historical integrity, there has been a strong, increasing demand for Troiani's work by both distinguished private collectors and important institutions.  His work has been displayed at or is represented in the collections of  the West Point Museum, The Booth Museum of Western Art in Cartersville, GA, American Heritage Magazine, Time-Life Books, Smithsonian Magazine and the Smithsonian's Museum of History and Technology, McGraw-Hill, the National Park Service, Gettysburg National Historical Park, Fort Necessity, Fort Scott, Guilford Court House, Saratoga National Historical Park, Boston National Historical Park, Oneida Indian Nation, Cowpens National Historical Park, St. Martin's Press, Petersburg National Historical Park, Minuteman National Park, Fort Stanwix National Monument, Morristown National Historical Park, U.S. Army War College, U.S. Marine Corps Museum, Pejebscot Historical Society, Brunswick, ME, Fort McHenry National Monument, Command General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS, The Charleston Museum, North Carolina Museum of History, Parks of Canada, the Pentagon, U.S. Army National Guard Bureau, the Pennsylvania National Guard, The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Pamplin Historical Park, U.S. Cavalry Museum at Fort Riley Kansas, The Greensboro Historical Museum, War Library and Museum of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the U.S., Heritage Plantation in Sandwich, Mass., the National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg. PA., and the Army Signal Corps Association.

     In 1995 he designed the three Civil War battlefield commemorative coins for the United States Mint.  His work has also appeared on a postal card commemorating the 350th anniversary of the U.S. National Guard.  Troiani is also a recipient of the Meritorious Service Award of the United States National Guard.

     He has served on the advisory board to the Anne Brown Library, Providence, RI and Civil War Trust.

     "His history is filled with action, color and excitement.  It is certainly a valid subject for an artist to pursue as long as it is approached in a thoughtful and thorough way, "Troiani said.  "There has been too much distortion over the years.  I believe the more accurate the presentation is, the clearer our image will be of our heritage.  It is a far better way to honor our ancestors."  With this sense of "mission," Don Troiani will no doubt continue to capture a crucial period in our nation's past with style, emotion and unrivaled accuracy.

 

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY ABOUT DON TROIANI (Excerpts):

"Don Troiani is unquestionably the finest military artist in today."  Michael J. Winey, Former curator, US Army Military History Institute

"His work is a benchmark toward which others in the genre can only aspire".  Robert K. Krick, Confederate Historian and author: "Lees Colonel's", "Jackson at Cedar Mountain " and other books.

"Alone among the current generation of artists, he combines drama and convincing realism with a painstaking attention to detail and historical accuracy."  Les Jensen, Former Curator, Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va. Center of Military History.

"The in depth and meticulous research by Don Troiani and his associates insure that the officers and men are life-like and the scene, the uniforms, and arms are as accurate."  Edwin C. Bearss, Former Chief Historian, National Park Service, author of: "Forrest at Brices Cross Roads", "The Vicksburg Campaign" and many others.

"His work has set a new standard of excellence, of which future generations may well regard as Rembrandts of American Military art."  Wiley Sword, author, "Shiloh Bloody April", "Embrace an Angry Wind".

"In the modern world of military art he has no peer."  Earl J. Coates, curator and noted Civil war uniform authority, Co-author "Civil War Small Arms, "Don Troiani's Regiments and Uniforms of the Civil war".

"In the field of artistic interpretation of the American Civil War, I know of NO ONE who has ever excelled Don Troiani, either in terms of accuracy of equipage displayed, the historical setting, or the rendition of characters he poses."  Howard Michael Madaus, Former curator, Milwaukee Public Museum, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and the National Museum of the Civil War at Harrisburg, Pa. Author of "Battle flags of the Army of the Tennessee," "Rebel Flags Afloat" to name a few.

"His meticulous research and impressive attention to detail, combined with extraordinary talent and feel for the era, has consistently enabled him to produce works of both outstanding accuracy and character." William A. Frassanito, author: "Gettysburg a Journey in Time", "Antietam: The Photographic Legacy of Americas Bloodiest Day", "Grant and Lee: The Virginia Campaigns, 1864-1865."

 "His prodigious research shows through and his attention to even the smallest details is without equal; he ranks with Gilbert Gaul and Edwin Forbes in accuracy and emotion-and those artists were there! Peter C. Jorgensen, Editor, "The Artilleryman", "Civil War News"

"I consider Don Troiani one of the outstanding military artists of this century.  His attention to detail has seldom ever been equaled."  Mark Elrod, Author: "Civil War Era Musical Instruments & Military Bands"

"Historians and lay people alike can be assured that accuracy and attention to detail are always the watchwords in his artworks."  Roy H. Marcot, Author "Spencer Repeating Firearms," "Chief of Sharpshooters, Hiram Berdan"

 "I have found Don Troiani's work to be a unique blend of action and authenticity."  Michael J. McAfee, Curator and author: "American Military Equipage", "Zouaves: The First and the Bravest."

"Don Troiani combines outstanding artistic skill with an uncompromising standard of authenticity."  A. Wilson Greene, Author and former Exc. Director, Association for Preservation of Civil War Sites, Director Pamplin Park .

"Don Troiani has created a remarkable body of Civil war-related work that places him solidly in the first rank of artists in this field."  Gary A. Gallagher, Author: "Stephen Dodson Ramseur", "Lee's Gallant General"

 "Don Troiani stands alone.  No other artist of this century so captures in his paintings the compelling incidents and individuals of the Civil War than Mr. Troiani."  Jeffry D. Wert, Author: "From Winchester to Cedar Creek", "Mosby's Rangers", "Longstreet"

"Don Troiani stands alone among Civil War artists.  He is able to portray the period because he understands the period."  Juanita Leish, Author and Textile Historian: "Who Wore What?", "An Introduction to Civil War Civilians"  

 "In the highly competitive field of Civil War art, Don Troiani consistently demonstrates an excellence for accuracy, drama, and detail."  Dr. James Robertson, Jr. Author and Historian: "Stonewall Jackson , the Man, the Soldier, the Legend"

 "There are many pretenders to the title, however in reality Don Troiani stands alone as the premier Civil War artist of the 20th Century."  Jack E. Ingram, Professional Historian and Museum Curator

"No other modern artist has been able to capture the immediacy, historical accuracy and detail of a Civil War moment as does Don Troiani."  Dean S. Thomas, author/publisher: "Round Ball to Rimfire, a History of Civil War Small Arms Ammunition" and numerous other books

"Don Troiani's portrayal of Hartranft's 51st PA taking the bridge at Antietam is certainly the most accurate depiction ever!"  Al Gambone, Author: "Major-General John Frederick Hartranft: Citizen Soldier and Pennsylvania Statesman"

"A must for those who appreciate the Civil War and work that transcends period art to stand with the works of other contemporary American artists."  Robert J. Younger, Publisher, Morningside Bookshop, Dayton, Ohio

"Don Troiani is one of the very few artists today that can ally the greatest possible accuracy with stirring compositions worthy of the great classical military artists of the last century."  Rene Chartrand, former curator/author Parks : "French Soldier in Colonial America"

“Your work is a bellwether of accuracy and this is of vital importance to all such buffs…”  James A. Trulock, Co-author: “In the Hands of Providence ” (Joshua L. Chamberlain)

“Don Troiani’s works do more than show us what war looked like; they tell us what it felt like.  His paintings are the most vivid, compelling images of war on the market today”  John Hennessy, Author and Historian: “Return to Bull Run "

 “It is evident to me that Don Troiani’s determination for historical accuracy far outweighs all other considerations”  Lieut. Col. Kenneth H. Powers, Regimental Historian–Sixty-ninth Regiment of N.Y.

“Accuracy and attention to detail are only part of the reason Don Troiani is the best.  Don’s concern with time and place are without peer.  His works require the knowledge of the events that others completely miss.  The result is without question the most accurate military art in a long time”  William L. Brown III, Curator-Historian, U.S. National Park Service

"An intense dedication to authenticity sets Don Troiani apart from the other contemporary painters of American military themes.  His work is distinguished by a depth of research that shows Troiani to be a serious historian as well as a talented artist.”  Brian Pohanka, Senior Researcher-Writer, Time-Life Civil War Book Series, Contributing editor, “Military History”, author: “Distant Thunder”

"Don Troiani records the history that Matthew Brady's camera missed.  In a style reminiscent of great 19th century artists like Taylor, de Thulstrup  and Trego, his vivid canvases capture the awesome fury of Pickett's Charge, the searing drama of the Wilderness, and the final agony of Appomattox.  His painstaking research and meticulous eye for detail put you in the front ranks with the real Johnny Reb and Billy Yank."  Dr. David Evans, Author CWTI's special issue "The Atlanta Campaign" and "Sherman's Horsemen"

"Don Troiani has the rare faculty of combining conscientious, detailed research with an unusual knack for depicting masses of men and horses in violent action.  The result is pictures which are accurate down to the last gunlock and gaiter button...yet these details merely contribute to the effectiveness of the painting as a whole."  Col. John R. Elting (USA Ret.), Author and Historian: "West Point Atlas of American Wars", "Military Uniforms In America", "American Army Life", "Amateurs To Arms Military History of War of 1812", "Battle Of Bunker Hill", "Battle Of Saratoga"

"No other artist better exemplifies the great tradition of 19th century realism in paintings capturing historic events.  His attention to detail creates an eerie verisimilitude!"  Dr. Walter L. Powell, Executive Director Gettysburg Battlefield Association   

"I have always found Don Troiani's historical renditions to be accurate to the finest detail...whether I am interested in equipment, uniforms, topography or weather at a particular site on a specific date."  Frank J. Kravic, Author: "The Collectors Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution"

"I consider Don Troiani to be an outstanding artist of 's colonial period.  It is such a romanticized era that most of today's artists present idealized renderings lacking in accuracy.  Troiani, however, combines exceptional artistic talent with a rare background from his personal experience as an archeologist, an historical researcher, and a collector of weapons, clothing, and accoutrements of that period."  George C. Neumann, Author: "The History of Weapons of the American Revolution", "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution", "The Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution"

"Troiani paintings are the quintessence of historical accuracy, technical excellence, artistic achievement, and soul!"  Frederick R. Edmunds, Curator, The Confederate States Armory & Museum, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania