Who Was Chiron?

Chiron (Chironte in Italian) was the centaur entrusted with the education of the young Achilles by his mother Thetys.


A rare example of a wise centaur (as opposed to the usually debauched type) he was able to teach his protégé skills ranging from music to the knowledge of medicinal herbs to the art of war. It was his particular ability to balance the rational and the natural that made him a model teacher. Later, in the Christian story of St. Anthony Abbot (founder of monasticism), an aged Anthony is led to St. Paul the Hermit by a centaur and a satyr; I would like to believe it was the same Chiron who guided the first monk through the desert.


Essays and publication excerpts on history, theory, and historical reconstructions.


Palladio and the Urban Theater

Setting Operas

The Challenge of Emulation

Timeless Cities

Giulio Romano



Online courses, new interpretations of the classical orders, etc.


The Meaning of Rome

a free course now archived online at edX

Metamorphic Orders



Arguments about aesthetics, artistic practice, and the design process.


The Idea of the Beautiful

The Inevitable Project

The Artist's Hand

In Praise of Mediocrity


David Mayernik and his wife chose Lucca for their second home in 2012 because it is one of the most complete, intact urban environments among smaller cities in Italy, with a remarkable relationship with its natural surroundings demarcated by its walls. Lucca is the home of Jacopo della Quercia's precociously classical Ilaria del Carretto; and it's the birthplace of one of the most thoughtful artists of the seventeenth century, Pietro Testa. David's studio there is a microcosm of his aspirations for art in the twenty-first century: rooted in the Renaissance tradition as it was enlarged in the Baroque; enriched by the contribution of foreign artists, especially those who worked en plein air in Italy in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; and dedicated to a culture of emulation rather than imitation.


This Virtual Academy disseminates information on the practice of disegno in the Renaissance tradition, and working en plein air around Lucca. For the foundation of disegno in the Idea of the Beautiful, see this Chiron page.


Please contact David if you are interested in a real academy course in Lucca.


Pietro Testa, School of Painting