Born in Dublin in 1971, Dony Mac Manus graduated with a Bachelor of Design (1995) and a Higher Diploma in Art and Design Teaching (1998) at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland. The work from his degree show was selected by the National Museum of Ireland for permanent display to launch the contemporary silver collection. He went on to receive a $20,000 Millennium Scholarship Trust from the Bank of Ireland to study a Masters in Fine Art (2001) at the New York Academy of Art and also won a $8,000 Scholarship from the same NYAA to use a studio in Provence in the south of France.
“In our contemporary western culture of repudiation and disenchantment, there is much need for a witness to hope in the form of beauty, a truth born of faith and love.”
Shortly after September 11, 2001 he left Manhattan for Italy where he set up his studio first in Rome for a year and a half and then Florence for the next year and a half while working on large bronze figurative compositions for NYC and Washington DC. He returned to Dublin in 2004 to establish the Irish Academy of Figurative Art over three and a half years which he then entrusted to the remaining faculty and over 100 students. In late 2007 Mac Manus returned to Florence to develop a sacred art studio in the Monastery of San Marco where Beato Fra Angelico used to work and live (pictured above). While there he travelled to Rome once a fortnight to gain a Masters in Architecture, Art and Liturgy (2010) under l’Universita degli Studi Europea di Roma at the the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum. His studio was so successful that the Archbishop of Florence, Giuseppe Cardinal Betori asked Mac Manus during a visit to his studio to personally found a diocesan Sacred Art School – Firenze based on his studio practise, which started in 2011 (). The artist left Florence in 2014 to develop Sacred Art Studios to work on large liturgical art commissions and has been working from his studio in Virginia.