A dramatic self-portrait with a Roman Martyr Catacomb Saint

Melanie Berardicelli, Mind, Heart, Soul (2024). Oil, Acrylic, Glass Beads and Gems, Fabric, and Gold and Silver Flakes on Arches Oil Paper. 24 x 36 in.

Melanie Berardicelli is a Master of Fine Arts, Certificate of Fine Arts, and Continuing Education Professor at the New York Academy of Art. As a professor, Melanie teaches still life and figurative drawing and painting, portrait and figurative sculpture, and structural anatomy. An educator in the fine arts since 2014, Melanie has taught drawing, painting, sculpture, and art history classes at the Ivy League School in Smithtown and USDAN Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. Melanie is also President of Audubon Artists, Inc. As president, she has curated Audubon's 2023 Annual Exhibition and created the 2022 Annual Exhibition Catalog to highlight the achievements of Audubon's Elected, Associate, and Honorary Members.

Melanie received a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting at the New York Academy of Art in 2021, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts In Painting and Drawing at SUNY New Paltz in 2017. Upon her graduation in 2021, she assisted Audrey Flack in her New York and East Hampton studios. As a studio assistant, she has helped Audrey paint and sculpt her latest Post-Pop Baroque Series, which is scheduled to debut at Hollis Taggart Gallery in March 2024.

Melanie's personal work currently focuses on the history of the Roman Martyr Catacomb Saints. After reading Paul Koudounaris’ Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs, she was captivated with the Roman Martyr Catacomb Saints of the German-speaking countries. She admired the tireless dedication of the nuns who clothed and bejeweled the skeletal remains of Christian martyrs from 100 AD with their own rings and gems. Combining her love of anatomy and sculpture with the ornate, she hand-tailors, embroiders, and beads costumes to adorn her resin-cast skeletal écorchés to recreate twenty-four-inch Roman Martyr Catacomb Saints. Through both painting and sewing on canvas, she re-imagines what these saints looked like during their lifetimes, giving them back their identities and re-christening them after the heroic people that she has come to know in her life.

When stepping into her Dumbo studio, visitors can expect to see Melanie’s large-scale Roman Martyr Catacomb Saint paintings, 24” bejeweled resin and hydrocal sculptures, glowing heroic oil portraits, and intimate hand-embroidered acrylic studies of colorful gems and treasures.
Melanie’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout New York State, including The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, The Mutter Museum, Sotheby’s, Cryptic Gallery, Greenpoint Gallery, Upstream Gallery, The Huntington Arts Council, and The New York Academy of Art.

Melanie is also children’s book illustrator. Her work for Augie Goes to the Library- a 48-page commemoration to the New Paltz community and the titular Border Collie- was published in 2016.