DON TROIANI | A Closer Look

DON TROIANI is a traditional academic realist painter well known for his highly accurate historical and military paintings mostly of the Civil War and American Revolution. He was born in New York City in 1949 and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy Of Fine Arts and New York City's Art Student’s League between 1967 and 1971.

Don Troiani's lifelong focus on America's military heritage enabled him to present that subject with extremely high fidelity. He has one of the great private artifact study collections of Civil War, War of 1812, Revolutionary War, and World War II uniforms, equipage, insignia and weapons which he calls on to add the unique dimension of realism he is well known for. He is also an expert researcher with a huge personal Military library of over 3,000 volumes. The garb and gear of each figure are painstakingly researched. Appropriate backgrounds are found and studied, 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.

Hollywood has enlisted him as consultant on Civil War uniforms and equipage for the feature film "Cold Mountain" starring Nicole Kidman, Rene Zellweger and Jude Law for which he received screen credit, as well as "Cold Mountain, The Journey from book to film." Troiani has also been military advisor (and made appearances) on "Civil Journal" and the miniseries "The American Revolution" done by The A&E network, 52 episodes of the History Channel's Television appearances on "Missing Reward", "Incurable Collector", and "Hunt for Amazing Treasures" are among his other television credits.  The most recent use of his works is in the upcoming film, "Night at the Museum 3" by 20th Century Fox.

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

Troiani's artwork has appeared in television productions on NBC, CPTV, CNN, FOX. Some include: “The Colbert Report”, “O’Reilly Factor”, the A&E Military and Discovery channels, and in uncounted prestigious publications including: "The Washington Post", "The Washington Times", "U.S. News and World Reports", "American Heritage", "American Rifleman", "Civil War Times"," Los Angeles Times", "The Arizona Republic", "America's Civil War", "USA Today", "The Hartford Courant", "Southwest Art", "Southern Accents", "The Boston Globe", "Connecticut Magazine", "The New York Times", "Smithsonian", "Antiques and Arts Weekly", "Litchfield County Times", "Coin World", "Waterbury Republican American", "Civil War News", "Danbury News Times", "The Courier News", "The Gettysburg Times", "America's Civil War", "The Bridgeport Post", "Military History", "Man at Arms" ,"Numismatist", "The Quarterly Journal of Military History", "International Churchill Society", "Confederate Veteran", "Art Business News"," North and South Magazine", "The Times Picayune", and "Antiques Road Show Insider ".  

His work as also appeared as cover art on scores of books as well as on America Online .

Troiani has also authored or co-authored "Don Troiani's Civil War", "Soldiers in America 1754- 1865", "Military Buttons of the American Revolution", “Soldiers of the American Revolution”, "Don Troiani's Regiments and Uniforms of the Civil War", "American Battles - The Art of the Nation at War 1754 - 1865", "Insignia of Independence -  Military Buttons, Accoutrement Plates, & Gorgets of the American Revolution"  in addition to numerous articles on military artifacts.
His art work is represented/exhibited in the collections of “American Heritage Magazine”, Time-Life Books, The Booth Museum of Western Art in Cartersville, Ga., Smithsonian Magazine and the Smithsonian's Museum of History and Technology, McGraw-Hill, the National Park Service, Gettysburg National Historical Park, Fort Necessity National Historical Park, Ft. Scott National Historical Park, Guilford Court House National Historical Park, Fort Stanwix National Historical Park, Saratoga National Historical Park, Boston National Historical Park, Cowpens National Historical Park, St. Martins Press, Petersburg  National Historical Park, Morristown National Historical Park, U.S. Army War College, Minuteman National Historical Park, Putnam Memorial State Park, U.S. Marine Corps Museum, Pejebscot Historical Society, Brunswick, Maine, Command General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, The Charleston Museum, North Carolina Museum of History, Parks of Canada, the Pentagon, U.S. Army National Guard Bureau, the Pennsylvania National Guard, New York State Military Museum, The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, West Point Museum -United States Military Academy, Pamplin Park, Fort Ticonderoga National Historic Landmark, 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., and the National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His works can be seen at the Pentagon, lining the halls, commemorating the U.S. Marines.  The Tea Party Museum in Boston Mass, also has his artwork displayed on their walls as an integral part of their historical teachings.  Some will be shown at the Washington Monument, Washington DC as well as the soon to open
National Museum of the United States Army (Fort Belvoir, VA) in 2017.

In 1995 he designed the three Civil War battlefield commemorative coins for the United States Mint. His work has also appeared on a U.S. 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.

Currently he is working on a series of paintings of the major battles and incidents of the American Revolution.


"Don Troiani is unquestionably the finest military artist in America 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. United States 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 art 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 Canada: "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" 

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 America'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"

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 

"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 

I have always been impressed by Don's strict attention to detail in the production of his numerous historical vignettes.  His military figures are always accoutred correctly with no bit of minutiae omitted.  He diligently researches background landscapes, in addition to accurate vegetation from specific geographic region depicted.  The realism of his paintings makes them as close to a color photograph of a moment frozen in time.  Chris Calkins, Author: "Thirty-Six Hours Before Appomattox" (1980), "From Petersburg to Appomattox: A Tour Guide" (1983), "The Battles of Appomattox" (1987), "The Final Bivouac" (1988), "The Battle of Five Forks" Co-authored with Edwin Bearss (1985) 

Research is his forte and accuracy is his passion.  Every detail comes to life through Troiani's magical brush.  Dennis E. Frye, Author: "2nd Virginia Infantry" & "12th Virginia Cavalry" 

Don Troiani paintings are historical gems, recreating actual events, personalities, or units to an unparalleled degree of accuracy and skill.  Dr. Charles H. Cureton, Former Director The Frontier Army Museum, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Don Troiani's paintings reflect not only his skill as an artist but is thorough research, insight and understanding of his subjects.  It seems unlikely that there could be a more accurate and thorough depiction of these actions.  Harry W. Pfanz, Former Chief Historian National Park Service and Author: "Gettysburg The Second Day"

Don Troiani is unsurpassed at recreating with absolute fidelity, the decisive moments of great battles. Stephen W. Sears, Author and Historian: "Landscape Turned Red", "To The Gates Of Richmond" 

I think Don  Troiani is the most historically accurate military artist working today,.  His intimate knowledge of uniforms and weapons makes it impossible for any other living artist to equal the accuracy of his scenes.  William H. Guthman, Author/Appraiser on Antiques Roadshow: "March To Massacre", "U.S. Army Weapons, 1784-1791", "New England Militia Uniforms and Accoutrements, Guns and Other Weapons

Don Troiani stands alone.  None can match the drama of his battle scenes.  No one equals his attention to detail and accuracy in every fine point of uniform and equipment.  William C. Davis, Author and Historian: Over 25 Civil War books including "Breckinridge", "Battle of Bull Run"  and  the 3 volume "Fighting Men Of The Civil War Series"  Former Managing Editor - Civil War Times Magazine 

Don Troiani's eye for accuracy, detail, color and skill in bringing the Civil War to life in his paintings is unsurpassed in America today. Kim Bernard Holien, Professional Military Historian and author: "Battle at Ball's Bluff", Past President - Alexandria Civil War Round Table, Past President - D.C. Civil War Round Table

Superb quality, stark realism and historical accuracy of Troiani's Civil War paintings have set a standard no one can surpass.  The portrayal of uniforms , insignia and equipment of the period, worn by both armies, reflects his tremendous research and deep knowledge of the subject.  I have appreciated every one of his works, and look forward to many more.  He is, indeed, to be commended. J. Duncan Campbell, A Founder, past governor and fellow, The Company of Military Historians; retired director, The State Museum of Pennsylvania; author of books and papers relating to U.S. Army history 

Aside from their impeccable authenticity, Troiani's military artistry conveys a rare sense of emotion, sensitivity... and believability.  His subjects come across not as simply soldiers, but as living people. Andrew Mowbray, Publisher: "Man At Arms Magazine"

No other artist takes as much time and effort to research their subject as does Don Troiani.  His skill and attention to detail is second to none. William B. Styple, Author and Historian: "Letters From The Peninsula The Civil War Letters Of Gen. Philip Kearny", "With A Flash Of His Sword", "Echoes Of The Blue and Gray Vols. I and II"

(Don Troiani's) painting is a significant addition to American military art...

John O. Marsh, Former Secretary of the Army 

Troiani's artwork is among the very best military art I have ever seen.  His in depth knowledge of uniforms and equipment makes each painting a viewer's dream.  The accuracy of each ensures that his work will be viewed for a long time to come and will introduce countless thousands to the American Civil War.  It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words; in Troiani's case at least that many.  Keep 'em coming! Dr. Richard Sauers, Historian/Author: "A Caspian Sea Of Ink: The Mead Sickles Controversy", "Advance The Colors", "The Gettysburg Campaign", Editor: Gettysburg Magazine

I have been a Don Troiani fan since the mid-1970's, and my admiration for the man and his work has only grown with time.  His historical paintings exhibit the same degree of research that I would expect in the best scholarly monograph.  Looking at his scenes of Revolutionary War and Civil War combat, I sometimes have to remind myself that the artist was born generations after the events he depicts.  In my opinion, Don Troiani is to Civil War art what Shelby Foote, James M. McPherson and the late Bruce Catton are to Civil War writing.   Gregory J. W. Urwin, Ph.D, Associate Professor of History University of Central Arkansas, Author: "Custer Victorious: The Civil War Battles of General George Armstrong Custer" (1983), "The United States Cavalry: An Illustrated History" (1983), "The United States Infantry: An Illustrated History - 1775-1918" (1988), Editor: "Custer and His Times: Book Three" (1987) 

There are a number of great historical artists, but with the exception of Don Troiani they are all long dead.  The distinguishing feature of Troiani's work is its magnificent detail, the accuracy of which is simply astounding.  On top of that, he can capture the very wind of a bullet and make you flinch.  With their Renaissance realism, historical accuracy, and sheer beauty, Troiani's paintings are an education and a delight.  William Marvel, Author: "Andersonville: The Last Depot", "Southwest Virginia in the Civil War", "Burnside", "The Battle of the Crater", "Race of the Soil: The Ninth New Hampshire Regiment in the Civil War", "The First New Hampshire Battery, 1861-1865"