Peter Paone (1936 - ) was born and raised in South Philadelphia. He grew up in a first-generation Italian-American home where the only art on the walls was religious in nature.
In the 1950s, Paone attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art (now the University of the Arts), where his instructors included Benton Spruance and other great narrative artists and illustrators. Early in his career, Paone studied Dutch still lifes, particularly the work of Clara Peeters (1594–c. 1657). Peeters, like many seventeenth-century Dutch painters, depicted flies and other insects in her work, demonstrating her virtuosity in portraying the tiniest details of nature.
Although he reveres the beauty of the natural world, Paone does not draw from nature or study flowers or insects in preparation for his paintings. Instead, he lets his subjects evolve in the course of the creative process. He explains, “One of the things I realized early on in my career was that my powers are really in my imagination. I don’t work from nature. I don’t work from a subject. I don’t set up still lifes and I don’t have models. I don’t go out in the garden to paint. I work from memory. I work from what I remember from what I’ve seen.”