David Zuccarini

David Zuccarini was born in Baltimore and attended the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., from 1969 to 1971. He then attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting in 1975. “I went there to specifically study with Joe [Sheppard],” Zuccarini said (Legacy 2004). “He had something to say with his figure paintings, and they seemed more contemporary that’s what I liked.”

Zuccarini is probably best known for his self-portraits, which have been featured on the cover of American Artist magazine and in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. “My art has always been autobiographical, a mirror for personal beliefs and relationships,” Zuccarini wrote in an artist’s statement. “But the evolution of the work over the past years has dissolved any previously fixed ideology, allowing a metaphysical resonance to underlie the imagery. Making art is like the enactment of a ritual: self-instructive, pointing toward mysteries that sometimes cannot be fully expressed in words or images.”

The subjects of Zuccarini’s realistic paintings are frequently taken from his immediate surroundings. His family, students, and studio figure prominently in his work. “In the process of painting those subjects that you know,” Zuccarini said, “you find your own voice, and it’s a process of self-discovery. You learn from each piece that you do; sometimes a dialog ensues. You start out with one idea, and by the time you finish the piece something else occurs to you. It’s an ongoing process” (Legacy 2004).

In addition to painting, Zuccarini teaches art in the Baltimore area. He instructs his students in the Maroger principles that he learned from Sheppard, but he said that he does not impose them as dogma on his students. “I try to let each person find their own voice, their own subject matter, to express themselves,” he said (Legacy 2004). “So it’s not restrictive, but the technique is the Maroger technique.” In 1987, Zuccarini received the Distinguished Teacher Award from the White House Commission of Presidential Scholars.

Zuccarini has had several one-man exhibitions in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area and has won prizes in many local and national exhibitions. He has been elected to membership in the Pastel Society of America and the Academic Artists Association. Among his honors and awards are the Gold Medal of Honor and Best in Show from the Academic Artists Association, the Prize for Figure Painting from the Pastel Society of America, and a Maryland Artists Fellowship Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

Zuccarini’s paintings reside in several public collections, including Hutzler’s, Inc., Baltimore; Allegheny Beverage Corp., Baltimore; Howard Community College, Columbia, Maryland; and University of Maryland University College.


The Legacy: a tradition lives on. 2004. Produced and directed by Joseph Sheppard. 35 min. Videocassette.

Goliath, oil on canvas, 24x20
Altar of Art, oil on canvas, 30x26
Artist at 50, oil on canvas, 48x36
Hand Study
charcoal and conte, 20x24
Figure Study red chalk,
Deposition, oil on canvas, 24x18