Faculty/Staff

Teachers of the School

Silvia Ciappi, Teacher at the Sacred Art School, Symbology and Iconography (Stained Glass windows).  Is part of the Italian National Committee of the International Association pour l’Historie du Vetre (AIHV).  Has curated shows in Florence, Milan, Mantova, Trent and has participated at national and international conventions.  Has authored more than 90 pubblications and has curated the exhibition of the Museo del Vetro di Empoli (MUVE) for which she has done documentary and archivial research.

Bernardo Estrada, Teacher of Sacred Scripture.  Chemical Engineer with a PHd in Biblical Theology and Biblical Philology, is professor of the New Testament at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.  Was a visiting professor at the Universities of La Sabana (Bogota, Colombia), at the Pontifical Institute Regina Mundi of Rome and at the Franciscan Stadium Biblium of Jerusalem. Has published several books and articles.

Giovanni Matteo Guidetti, Teacher of Christian Art, Symbology and Iconography.  Scientific director of the Museum of Sacred Art of San Donnino– Firenze.  Curates the annual cultural initiatives of the historic Society of Saint John the Baptist.

Dony Mac Manus, Teacher of Theology, Anatomy and Drawing of the human body.  Irish artist formed at the New York Academy of Art.  Has international experience and his works of sacred art are present in different parts of the world, from St. Patricks’s Cathedral of New York to Rome.  Has founded and directed the Irish Academy of Figurative Art in Dublin, Ireland.  Is one of the founders of the Sacred Art School, which is the fruit of his vision.  Website:  www.donymacmanus.com

Gabriele Maselli, Teacher of Woodworking Laboratory. Is a Florentine master of frame-making and runs the Bottega D’Arte Maselli.  Is the regional president of frames and artistic frames and is a member of the Florence Scientific Artisan- Artist Committee. Has realized work for the Uffizi Gallery of Florence, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore of Florence, the Basilica di San Lorenzo of Florence and restorations in Florence and for the Vatican City. Is one of the founders of the Sacred Art School- Firenze.  Website:  www.cornicimaselli.com

Vittorio Menestrina, Teacher of Liturgy.  Is a priest of Florence and a member of the council of Sacred Art in the Diocese.  Has a specialization in pastoral liturgy at the Pastoral Institute Santa Giustina of Padova and has graduated in Physical Sciences, with a  PHd in Geological Sciences at the University of Florence.

Elisabetta Nardinocchi, Teacher of Christian Art, Symbology and Iconography. She is director of the Horne Museum of Florence and teacher for the courses on Oreficeria at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure di Firenze.

Francesco Paganini, Teaches and coordinates courses of metalworking at the professional school Elis- Roma.  Has realized chalices, tabernacles, and other sacred objects for churches and for some prelates including bishops and the Saint Pope John Paul II.

Claudio Paolini, Teacher of Christian Art, Symbology and Iconography (wooden furnishings and artifacts).  Teacher for the courses of History of Applied Art and Metalworking, history of furniture, history of artistic techniques and history and technique of restoration (Postgraduate School of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in the University of Florence).

Paolo Penko, Teacher of goldsmith.  Is a Florentine master of goldsmithing art, designer and sculptor of international fame.  From Florence he assimilates the charm of the Reniassance, which inspires many of his works made by hand using the ancient techniches of the Florentine goldsmith tradition. He has created works for the Florentine Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore.  Some of his works have become part of the collections of the Bargello and of the Museo degli Argenti di Palazzo Pitti.  He is one of the founders of the Sacred Art School- Firenze.

Fabrizio Meucci, Teacher of the laboratory of Textiles. He is the Factory Manager of Antico Setificio Fiorentino www.anticosetificiofiorentino.com

Silvestro Pistolesi, painter. After attending first the “Scuola d’Arte” of Porta Romana and later the Cappiello Academy and Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence, he met the person who will embody his grand master, Pietro Annigoni and it’s precisely by moving in his master’s atelier since 1963 that he gained his own artistic training. He is considered one of the most famous contemporary figurative painters. His works are all around the world, from Rome to USA. Some relevant see such as the Abbazia di Montecassino, the Santuario della Verna and the Abbazia di Vallombrosa wall worthy great public works. Website: www.silvestropistolesi.it

Giancarlo Polenghi, Teacher of Communications and Christian Faith, is the Artistic Director of the school.  Graduated in Medieval Art History from La Sapienza, Rome, is adjunct professor of Marketing of Services at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome).  Has taught communications at the University of Asia and the Pacific in Manila (Philippines) and at the Western Kentucky University at Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA. As consultant of communications he has worked for business company such as Avis, Nestle’, Volvo, Barilla, Bayer, Galbani and many others.  From 2011-2013 he has directed Sipario Tv.  He is one of the founders of the Sacred Art School- Firenze.

Alessandro Spennato, Instructor of CAD Design.He has developed interest and studies in the field of Visual Design and in technical skills of computer processing (images and videos).  From 2007 he has assisted Professor Alfarano in the management in the website of AreaDesign of the University of Florence.

Cody Joseph Swanson  is a practicing artist and instructor currently residing in Florence, Italy with his wife and four children. He holds an M.A. in Liturgy, Sacred Art and Architecture from the European University in Rome, and studied sculpture in the three year diploma program of the Florence Academy of Art, where he continued to teach for five years.Some noteworthy examples of Swanson’s numerous and award winning work include Saint Michael in New Orleans LA, the doors of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill, WI, over 20 sculptures for Saint Joseph Cathedral, Sioux Falls, SD, a processional cross for the Duomo of Florence, Italy, Saint Emygdius in the Cathedral of Foligno, Italy and a marble Madonna and Child for Campus Bio-medico of Rome, Italy.Tremendous love for classical art and architecture, and extensive practical experience have formed Swanson’s methods of design and composition, and as an instructor he provides an intensive program with individual critiques, designed to achieve self-sufficiency in reflective evaluation of ones own work. www.codyswanson.com

Massimo Ruffilli, Teacher of Design of sacred space and environment.  Professor of the Faculty of Architecture and  Chair of the Master of Science in Design at the University of Florence. (Università degli Studi di Firenze).

Osamu Tanimoto, Instructor of drawing. He is a young Japanese painter and lives in Florence. His conversion to Catholicism took place in Florence in 2010 through the beauty in the Christian art in the past. He graduated from the Russian Academy of Art in Florence. Osamu composes narrative religious paintings and devotional ones as well as other genres and has done commission works in Italy and Japan. His works are also in private collection. His vocation as an artist is to pursue and capture its beauty created and render it in his art with his mind, heart and hands to communicate His splendor.  osamugiovannitanimoto.com

Ignacio Valdes de Elizalde, Teaches painting.  Graduated in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts “Santa Isabel de Hungria” of Seville, from that moment on he has dedicated himself to working exclusively as a painter.  From 2004 his work has focused mainly on sacred paintings for churches and chapels in different countries around the world, working at times with his two sisters, also painters.  In the past few years he has painted altarpieces in Chile, Nigeria, Ireland, Croatia, Italy and Spain. Website:  www.nachovaldes.com

Anthony Visco is the founder and director of The Atelier for the Sacred Arts in Philadelphia where he does commission works and offers professional services as devotional art consultant. Upon graduation from the University of the Arts, formerly, Philadelphia College of Art, he was the recipient of the Fullbright-Hayes Grant to travel and study in Italy, where he attended studios at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence. Many of his artworks are placed in USA, from Philadelphia to Wisconsin. Website: www.anthonyvisco.org 

Patrizia Zingaretti, Teacher of egg tempera painting.  Teaches anatomical drawing at l’Accademia Italiana Moda e Design.  Iconographical painter, with more than 10 years of experience teaching panel painting techniques.

Administrative Secretary/ Students  Chiara Guazzini

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