About the Rosa Bible Painting

William Douglas Rosa was born in New York City in 1942. He was encouraged by his father, art director for Life magazine, to seek a career in art.  Rosa’s formal training was completed at the Art Student’s League and the School for Visual Arts in New York. By age 19, he began his career as a freelance illustration artist.

His most famous work portrays the beloved U.S. Marine Corps chaplain and Catholic priest Lt. Vincent Robert Capodanno on a Vietnam battlefield. Capodanno lost his life ministering to troops in the Quang Tin province of Vietnam. Rosa’s painting was presented in 1975 to the Naval Base in Newport, Rhode Island, after Capodanno posthumously won the Congressional Medal of Honor, where it still hangs in place of honor.

Bowie was born in Richmond, Virginia. He was a graduate of both Harvard University and the Virginia Theological Seminary. In 1909, he was ordained an Episcopal priest. His works include: The Story of the Bible, The Bible Story for Boys and Girls, Finding God Through St. Paul, The Master, The Living Stories of the Old Testament and The Living Stories of the New Testament.

Historical Note: While at Harvard University, Bowie co-edited the Crimson magazine with future American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Rosa’s dramatic Bible paintings were commissioned by Prentice Hall to illustrate and complement the powerful writing style of renowned cleric Walter Russell Bowie in The Living Stories of the Old Testament and The Living Stories of the New Testament.

In addition to his incredible Bible illustrations, he is perhaps best known for his depictions of the Vietnam War where he was among several artists given a temporary commission by the Marine Corps’ fine arts program to spend seven weeks sketching battlefield scenes.