Angel Academy of Art, Florence

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Angel Academy of Art, Florence



via Nardo di Cione 10, Florence, Italy

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Angel Academy of Art, Florence

Dedicated to the Continuance of Classical and Realist Painting

The Angel Academy of Art, Florence, is a private institution that teaches drawing and painting in the old-master tradition.

One of the very few such institutions in the world, the Angel Academy offers a curriculum designed to produce the highest calibre of professional artists, equipped to be leaders in the emerging renaissance of classic, realist painting. 

While this tradition began at least as early as 14th-century Italy, the curriculum and the teaching techniques are grounded on those of the 19th-century European academies and are the result of over 45 years of research and experiment by the school’s founder and studio director, Michael John Angel. This successful step-by-step process teaches the student to thoroughly appropriate the skills needed for representational painting. It gives the graduate the ability to use classic ideals and techniques for contemporary expression.

Michael John Angel, born in England in 1946, has been painting and studying art since his mid-teens. Through the great Italian master, Pietro Annigoni, Mr Angel was made aware of the lack of an effective method of teaching in the universities and public art schools. Even in Europe, where some vestiges of the old methods of cast drawing and still-life painting remain, the official schools lack the knowledge to effectively teach Realism and frustrate the student by trying to apply various 20th-century concepts to a pre-20th-century discipline. At the Angel Academy, on the other hand, the principles involved are found to be concretely teachable and, through a series of exercises over a three-year period, the student learns to master them.


Anna Brookes, Director of Admissions and Administration.

Michael John Angel is the Studio Director, Senior Instructor and Co-founder of the Angel Academy of Art, Florence.

Mr. Angel is regarded as one of the foremost classical painters in Europe and North America: his paintings and portraits hang in both public and private collections on both sides of the Atlantic. While he has few peers in portrait painting, where his commissions read like a Who's Who of corporate North America, Mr. Angel's real passion is painting myths and allegories. Currently, he has been concentrating on these, painting murals and altarpieces in a number of churches and villas in Italy, and in private residences in the United States.

Known to his students as "maestro," Mr Angel is considered one of the most inspiring and successful artists in classical and traditional art today.

Mr. Angel has taught workshops at the American Academy in Chicago, in addition to lecturing at the Florentine campuses of several American universities and various private schools in Canada. 1982-1989 Director of the National Portrait Academy in Toronto 1992-1995 the Assistant Director of the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. 1997 Co-founded Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. 

90-minute documentary by Artatak Films of Toronto and Rainbow Films of Florence entitled Annigoni: Portrait of an Artist The Road to Castagno, profiles the work of Mr. Angel (viewed at Cannes Documentary festival and Montreal's 12th Festival International du Film sur l'Art).

Jered Woznicki, Instructor, was born in Chicago. He studied at the American Academy of Art, from which he graduated in 1994. In Chicago, he worked with the noted painter Warren Prindle. Jered Woznicki's art has won various awards throughout the United States, as well as in Italy. In 1999 he took fourth place in the prestigious Florence Biennale, an international assembly of over 500 recognized artists. Mr. Woznicki's work is to be found in private and public collections in Europe and in North America. Although busy with teaching, he works on his own figure and still-life paintings.

Giulia Bucciarelli - Giulia Bucciarelli studied drawing and painting under local painters in Florence and took classes at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Florence and figure-drawing classes at the Scuola Libera del Nudo for three years, subsequently graduating from the Angel Academy of Art, Florence, where she is now teaching.
Ms Bucciarelli has exhibited her work in the exhibition LíEredità di Annigoni, held at the Villa Bardini in 2010, and currently splits her time between teaching, private commissions and her own portrait and still-life paintings.

Davide Barbini - Davide Barbini studied painting and engraving at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, from which he graduated in 2012, and at the Angel Academy of Art, Florence. Mr Barbini’s  work is in many private collections and spans from landscape to portraiture. Currently his work is focusing more on the human figure.

Visiting Workshop Faculty

Martinho Isidro Correia - Martinho Isidro Correia is a fine artist and educator and is currently teaching spring/summer workshops in portrait painting and still life at the Angel Academy. A graduate of the University of Calgary (BFA in Painting), University of British Colombia in Vancouver (BEd in Art Education), Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy (Diploma in Drawing and Painting) and The European University/Pontifical Athenaeum, 'Regina Apostolorum' in Rome (Masters in Architecture, Sacred Art and Liturgy), Martinho splits his time between teaching, private commissions and gallery work. In January of 2013 he will begin teaching a course in Sacred Art at St. Mary's University College in Calgary, Canada.

In his studio, Martinho Correia is painting portrait and still-life commissions. Please visit his website for more examples of his work:
The Programmes 

The Diploma Programme is a unique three-year course, developed over 45 years by master painter and portraitist, Michael John Angel. This three-year programme consists of a graduated series of specific exercises, each project building on the lessons learned from the previous one. The course design is based on techniques and methods developed in the 19th-century ateliers and later refined. It is the fastest possible way to learn how to draw and paint at the highest levels; in the end, any artist who can create at this level is able to express whatever he or she wants.

The programme has evolved from a combination of Mr Angel’s research and that of a number of students of the great American painter, R. H. Ives Gammell, whose pedigree, in turn, goes back to the 19th-century French Academy. The programme begins with work from a specially prepared set of lithographs, which quickly teach the student the basic skills of accurate rendering (the Angel Academy of Art uses the best set of instructional drawings: that were made by Charles Bargue in the 19th century, at the behest of Jean-Léon Gérôme; the studio owns many of the originals). With these basic skills, the student progresses to cast work, first in charcoal, then in oil paint. From these, the student moves to still-life, the best arena in which to study colour, texture and the illusion of three dimensions. Work from the live model begins immediately in the first trimester, and is central to our programme.

The Angel Academy's 2nd- and 3rd-year programmes now include compositional aspects, such as how to design two, then three, figures into a consistent harmony, how to make one or more figures or objects seem to recede into the background, as well as the difficult job of how to create a consistent light within an imaginary composition. Students also learn how to give real power to the main subject of their painting.

In addition, mass drawing is now being taught, along with the more usual linear approach. Mass drawing is the traditional method of drawing used by the Old Masters, and is rarely taught in ateliers today.  

As always, the emphasis is on the creation of a solid, three-dimensional illusion, by incorporating the conceptual along with the observation of nature. This was one of the main driving concerns for the great Renaissance artists, and, thanks to them, we now know how to do it.

To teach the utmost in accuracy and execution, the school uses the sight-size method for cast work and for still life. In the live-model rooms, however, the Angel Academy of Art teaches a system of comparative measurement in which the student learns to incorporate the conceptual with the realistic. While this system was common in the 19th-century ateliers, it is rare among modern-day Realist academies.

The Academy’s aim is to develop the students' skill through traditional training and practice, using the same methods that were used to teach many of the great masters of the past. At the same time, each student’s individual strength and artistic interpretation is encouraged; boundaries are pushed and the student can emerge as a highly skilled and confident artist. A Diploma is awarded to students who successfully complete the three-year Fundamental Programme. 

The Graduate Programme comprises two electives: Portrait Painting and Composition, (both Form and Colour). Work from the live model continues.

The Curriculum

Work begins from specially prepared drawings that quickly and effectively give a command of shape, proportion and tonal rendering. These skills are then applied to studies from plaster casts, first in charcoal, then in oil paint. 

Along with daily work from the live model, first in pencil, then in charcoal, these studies occupy the first two years. Third-year students paint from the nude and also concentrate on the disciplines of still life, which is the perfect arena in which to learn about colour, texture and the illusion of three dimensions. The live model demands great ability in gesture, design, proportion and very subtle colour.

This work from the live model begins in the student’s second week; we believe that early time spent in mastering fundamental skills is time well spent. The human figure is central to European art – our innate urge towards anthropomorphism depends on it for expression and many of our principles of composition stem from a study of the nude.

Slide lectures on various technical aspects, such as anatomy and morphology, and art history from the practising painter’s point of view, are given regularly.

The Angel Academy emphasizes the importance of professionalism for those who intend to pursue painting as a career. Contrary to popular belief, the profession of artist is a viable one; a properly trained painter can expect to earn a salary equivalent to that of a doctor or a lawyer. Study with us should be seen as a career investment.

The completed curriculum will allow the graduate to confidently approach and overcome the most difficult projects in drawing and painting. Using the skills, techniques, knowledge, and approach that are taught at the Angel Academy of Art, Florence, works of art of the highest possible quality can be made. 


Four-Week Intensive Course
The Angel Academy of Art now offers four-week intensive courses in portrait painting. These intensive courses take place throughout the academic year with set starting dates, and are separate from our full-time, 3-year Diploma programme.

Summer Workshop Programme 2021

Come and enjoy the pleasure of studying in Florence during our 2022 Summer Workshop season in our state-of-the-art school. Our temperature-controlled (air-conditioned) clean-air environment provides optimum comfort during the warm summer months.

Please click on the workshop listing on the EVENT LISTING page for more information and to register.










Please visit our website for a full colour presentation at: 

To Make Your Reservation

To register for any of the above workshops please either reserve with our on-line submission Registration Form or download the form directly from our Website on the Workshops page and send it by e-mail to:

A Final Word

The Academy’s method is that of individual instruction in a group setting. That is, each student is evaluated on an ongoing basis and advances largely in accordance with the time and effort he or she can invest. Since the programme is a succession of carefully designed projects, a student’s prior training and experience do not influence the assignments given; the rate of progress depends only on the speed at which instruction is absorbed. In general, the atelier atmosphere at the Angel Academy is relaxed and convivial. Competition is friendly, and there is an air of support and respect among both students and instructors: their goals are, after all, mutual. 

Please visit our website for a full colour presentation at:

and check out Part 1 of our You Tube lecture, The Academic Process (part 1). Here is the link:

We are also on You Tube with a Summer Workshop at: 17s 

The Maestro's Tour - Tour the Angel Academy of Art, Florence, with maestro Michael John Angel. Please click here.

To watch a video of comments from students and instructors about the Angel Academy of Art, Florence, please click here.



John Angel recently wrote to Fred Ross, Chairman of the Art Renewal Center:

"What you have done (are doing) for this wonderful art of ours is beyond thanks. Sei forte! You are the best!

John Angel"

Founded 1997
Course languages (Check multiple if applicable) English
Instructors Michael John Angel, Jered Woznicki, Giulia Bucciarelli, Nicole Lalande, James Tucker, Ashish Kumar Patel, Davide Barbini
Part-Time Instructors 6
Students 65
Accommodation No

Part time: EUR 4500 / semester

Full time: EUR 13500 / year

Angel Academy of Art

Via Nardo di Cione, 10

Florence, Tuscany, 50121, Italy

Male Nude by Michael John Angel

Still-Life with Oranges by Jered Woznicki


Cast Painting by Janne Jaaskelainen

Figure Drawing by Mark Stahmann

Abdu by Shane Wolf

St. Ditmas by Louis Smith

new website image

The Academic Process (part 3 of 3)
The Academic Process (part 2 of 3)
The Academic Process (part 1 of 3)

25 September 2023 to 21 June 2024

Enrolment information for Academic Year 2023-2024 Fall, Winter & Spring Trimesters

10 Via Nardo di Cione, Firenze, Toscana

14700 EUR

Academic Year 2023-2024 Fall, Winter and Spring Trimesters

This full-time three-year diploma programme offers a precise methodology that systematically develops students’ skills. Classes are led through a progression of exercises and courses to master shape, proportion, tonal rendering, colour, texture, the illusion of three dimensions and composition; as well as how to imbue the painting with a feeling of life.