Ravenswood Atelier was established in 2008 by two Florence Academy alumni and former instructors, Matthew and Magdalena Almy. The school offers a four-year apprenticeship program centered around the principles of academic training developed in the late 19th c., according to the teaching passed down to its founders in a direct master-to-student lineage dating back to the atelier of Jean-Léon Gérôme. Teachers paint alongside the students from the same model daily. The poses are set up not just for the purposes of academic study, they are also utilized in multi-figure, complex compositions by the instructors. Students are immersed in the process of developing a successful work of art from the start by observing experienced painters at work in their studio. With theory routinely reinforced by demonstration, the students glean valuable insight into the application of these teaching practices and leave prepared to enter the art world as professional painters.
The education begins with mastering drawing in graphite and charcoal and continues through painting in a series of systematic steps designed to maximize the handling of each medium as the students learn to interpret and translate three dimensional spaces beyond their own limitations. Equipped with tools and techniques to rapidly increase their proficiency and knowledge of the process, the students face each challenge well prepared. Continual learning is strongly encouraged even outside the school curriculum as intermediate level students are also tasked with copying old master works in oil to better prepare them for the assignments ahead. Graduates are expected to produce a multi-figure, narrative piece as their final project.
The training at the Ravenswood Atelier is fully comprehensive and suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced students. The most important criterion of acceptance into the program is commitment to long-term study and a desire to excel. The instructors devote much of their time to the advancement of their students' skills and expect the same dedication in return. The ideal student is one who is willing and eager to fulfill his or her highest potential.
The goal and passion of this establishment is to facilitate a disciplined return to the established canons of beauty and to point the way back to the objective study of nature. The standard used to judge the students' progress is founded on the greatest examples of art in history. The instructors themselves strive to meet this high standard in their own work and encourage others to stay the course. Ravenswood Atelier's mission is training artists who might one day surpass the former masterworks in skill and execution and serve as examples for future generations to follow. Whether their contribution proves to be large or small, the philosophy of The Ravenswood Atelier is that the higher the bar is raised, the greater the distance traveled.
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