6-Week Intensive: Drawing, Painting, Art History

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6-Week Intensive: Drawing, Painting, Art History

02 April, 2018 to 22 June, 2018

Florence Academy of Art

Dates: April 2 - May 11 May 14 - June 22
Instructor: Melissa Franklin Sanchez, Director, Simone Moritz & Per Olav Olsen
Credits: 8.0 per session
Time: Mon–Wed, 9–4; Thu/Fri, 9–12
Length 6 weeks
Location To be announced
Cost U.S. $ 5,200.00

Instruction by individual critique. Beginning – Intermediate – Advanced levels welcome.

In Florence, students discover the richness and beauty of Italian painting fused with academic draughtsmanship, and endeavour to discover how the masters created works of such universal significance.

DRAWING AND PAINTING A short distance from the historic city centre in a quiet Italian neighbourhood, students work from easels under natural north light, just like the old master painters of the past. Florence Academy faculty will guide them through the techniques of sharpening charcoal, blocking in the shadow shapes, and understanding how to translate three-dimensional forms into two dimensions. Instruction is designed to take students of all levels through a series of exercises aimed to develop their observational skills and accuracy in drawing and painting, whilst learning a methodology to translate and record directly from nature.

During the mornings, students immerse themselves in the study and practice of drawing; in the afternoons, they practice painting.

A brief introduction to copying from old master drawings to understand measurement, proportion and shadow shape, students progress to drawing from the plaster cast, and painting the still life, portrait and the figure. They will practice using sanguine, silver point, pen and ink, as well as charcoal and oil. The program is very similar to the one offered to full time students at The Florence Academy of Art.

Working from life is a unique and fulfilling experience, one that is fundamental to the training at the Florence Academy and central to a long-standing tradition. Working from a live model, students will learn how to approach the human figure, observing proportion, body type and gesture and important anatomical points. With pencil there will be a linear approach focusing on outline and shadow line to explain the form. With charcoal and oil paint, focus will be on mass and overall sense of light and atmosphere through comparison of light and shadow shapes.

During their free time, students will be encouraged to sketch the main monuments and piazzas, or drawing in museums like the Specola (Zoology section of Florence’s Natural History Museum), the Bargello Sculpture Museum, or the Museo del Duomo.


I. Copy of 19th Bargue drawings & Old Master copies in pencil, charcoal, sanguine and silverpoint

Students begin by copying 19th Century drawings produced by Charles Bargue by request of Jean-Léon Gérôme. Originally discovered in the archives of the Victoria and Albert museum by Florence Academy founder, Daniel Graves, and brought to use in the drawing program in Florence, the simplified forms of the Bargue drawings enable students to understand our process, focusing on outline, proportion, value and line quality. At this stage, students learn the sight-size method of measurement to view the subject correctly and reproduce it accurately. This method will be later applied to cast, portrait and figure exercises as students acquire the ability to translate three-dimensional form into two dimensions.

II. Cast Drawing, Portraiture and Still Life in charcoal and oil

The practice of drawing from classical statuary helped great painters of the past learn their craft. By copying plaster casts and drawing portraits, students continue to develop observation and drawing skills whilst learning to work from nature. Ultimately, this practice allows them to confront one of the greatest challenges: the human figure. Emphasis is placed on describing form through the relationship of light and shadow, controlling values and rendering edges. In still life projects, strong emphasis is placed on design and composition.

III. Figure Drawing & Painting from Life

The figure is the centre of the Academy’s curriculum and will be at the core of our 6-week program. Students will be introduced to the human form through weekly pencil studies from life. Through these exercises they will learn how to observe and record nature, using simple line and shadow shapes. They will then progress to week-long studies in charcoal and oil that will develop awareness of anatomy and focus on light and shadow to explain form. Models will pose for three hours per session, allowing time for students to make careful observations and produce an accurate drawing or painting.

ART SUPPLIES Students will receive a list of materials to purchase. On the first day of class, they will be accompanied to a local art supply store where they will enjoy a discounted price on hand-made charcoal from France, paper from Italy, and the sketchbook to record their impressions of their time in Florence.

ART HISTORY INSTRUCTION Renaissance artists placed man at the centre of the universe. Today, their master works inspire contemporary painters and sculptors for their ability to transcend time, and enter the realm of our experience. Students will look to answer how Renaissance artists found and translated the human figure, from static to contropposto to spiralling forms in space. They will step in close to observe their fondly worked surfaces, to understand how sculptors used texture and polish to create the painter’s equivalent of chromatics.

To understand how the Renaissance took root and flourished, students will walk through Florence, and visit its main sites. What was Florence like in the 1400’s? Who were its main political, religious and artistic figures? How were power, wealth and faith expressed through buildings and artwork. By visiting Florence’s principal museums and churches art will tell the story of powerful families like the Medici, religious orders like the Franciscans, and the merchant guilds.

Art History Highlights: Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, Giotto and Masaccio, Ghiberti and Donatello, Giambologna at the Loggia dei Lanzi. Visits to the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery and Michelangelo’s unfinished, Slaves, and David, the Bargello Sculpture Museum, and the Gallery of Modern Art (19th century painting) at the Pitti Palace.

ACCOMMODATIONS AND SUPPORT Throughout the students’ time in Florence, The Florence Academy administrative staff will be available to answer questions and provide full services and support. Students will be accommodated in double bedrooms in furnished apartments with other students on the program. These are within walking distance from the school building or short bus ride, and ten minutes from the historic centre of Florence.

COST PER PERSON U.S. $ 5,200.00.

What’s included?

• Accommodations in a double bedroom in a furnished apartment with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities. Supplement for single bedroom accommodations, U.S. $ 900.00. For students arranging their own housing, cost per person, U.S. $ 4,250.00.

• Instruction, guided visits, activities and entrance fees as stated in your itinerary

• Student Services Support of Florence Academy office staff

What’s not included?

Transportation to/from Florence, Travel insurance, Visas, Airport transfers, Meals, Drinks, Optional excursions, Items of a personal nature including spending money, tips and gratuities.