Cheng Nanyan (1951) was born in Hukou, Jiangxi Province. In 1977, he graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the China Academy of Art and stayed on as a teacher. Later, he studied in the postgraduate class of the department, the Zao Wou-ki (Zhao Wuji) painting art seminar and the Central Academy of Fine Arts painting technique and material seminar. In 1992, he was admitted as an international student sent by the state and won a scholarship from the Italian government. He went to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, Italy, and taught at the Oil Painting Department of China Academy of Art after returning to China in 1997.