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July 16, 2023 - July 23, 2023

Oil Painting Techniques of the Renaissance: The Venetian School

Oil Painting Techniques of the Renaissance: The Venetian School

Workshop Dates:
July 16, 2023 - July 23, 2023
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About the Workshop

In the 14th c. Sicilian painter, Antonello di Messina brought the new medium of oil painting to Italy. In his travels, he brought the medium to Venice, where artists such as Giovanni Bellini, adopted, and expanded the expressive potential of the medium. Perhaps one of the most influential painting teachers in history, Bellini’s pupils included some of the greatest figures in the history of the medium: Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese. Their often huge, operatic paintings mark a kind of crowning achievement for the medium, and the processes they developed consequently influenced other great artists and schools of art that included Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velazquez and countless others who have followed in their path.

This workshop will follow the oil painting methods of the great Venetian masters. Working from reproductions, participants will reproduce easel-sized works of the Venetian school of the 16th-18th c. They may also choose to copy a detail from larger Venetian masterworks. To as great an extent possible, students will use the same materials of 15th and 16th c. Venetian artists, many of which will be prepared by hand in class, according to traditional recipes.

Beginning on a uniquely coarse, stretched canvas (approximately 36” x 30”) prepared with rabbit skin glue and white lead, participants will apply a colored ground. This rich, colored surface establishes an overall, atmospheric tonality, that also functions as a very useful neutral color. This then, serves as the basis for the serendipitous approach to color and the remarkable atmospheric effects that are unique to this school of painting.

On this rich surface, participants will transfer perforated drawings with charcoal and a pounce as was done in this time. Afterward, earth colors, carbon black, and white lead ground in oil will be prepared by the class. With these basic colors, an underpainting will be developed using alternating layers of washes and thick impasto areas of white lead. Afterward, rich layers of transparent colors made primarily from pigments produced in in our Pigments and Paint Workshop will be applied. In the process, students will develop an understanding of the important terms, glaze (a dark, thinned color over a lighter surface) and scumble (a thin layer of white lead) as they seek to reproduce the sumptuous color and dramatic brushwork characteristic of the Venetian School.

During the class participants will have the unique opportunity to see remarkable examples of work by the Venetian masters in person during our excursion to the Pitti Palace in Florence.

Throughout the workshop, participants will be housed in the remarkably well-preserved Umbrian hill town of Monte Castello di Vibio. Your workshop package is all-inclusive, providing welcome and departure services and airport transfer from the Rome Fiumicino, Leonardo Da Vinci Airport (FCO). Aboard our comfortable private bus, single occupancy accommodations with shared bath (a wide range of upgrades with private bath are available), 3 meals per day Monday-Thursday, Prosecco brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday (no meals are served on Friday, our excursion day. Your workshop includes an excursion to Florence. Of course, throughout your stay, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.

Price of the workshop includes all materials needed to produce the painting described above, except brushes, which will be available for sale at ICA in Italy. While it is unlikely that the painting will be completed in the timeframe allowed by the workshop, our goal is to give participants a sufficient understanding of the Venetian process in order to complete the painting at home. As part of the course fee, participants will be issued a unique folding stretcher that allows the painting itself to be folded into a carry-on luggage-sized parcel, even if not fully dry.

About the Instructor

Included Amenities

Click on the links below for detailed information about our included amenities.
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  • Airport transfer from and to the Leonardo da Vinci Rome/Fiumicino Airport (FCO) aboard our private bus (on scheduled dates only). Bus departs the airport promptly at 12PM.
  • Airport welcome service and assistance with baggage
  • 24/7 bi-lingual support with manager on site at all times
  • All ground transport aboard private buses or our ICA van, unless otherwise specified. Licensed and insured professional driver and ICA guide accompany all excursions. Orientation at each destination is provided as is departure coordination (guide service is available upon request — unless specified — for an additional fee)
  • Complimentary bottle of local wine provided in rooms on arrival day and complimentary locally made soap
  • Village orientation and complimentary drinks provided on arrival day
  • Private access to our 5-storey tower at our Palazzo Persiane (on sign-up basis) for spectacular morning and evening views
  • Access to our art materials shop (during posted hours)
  • Thorough orientation lecture and maps provided the evening before departure
  • Return transport to the Rome/Fiumicino Airport (departs 5:30AM) with rest stop
  • Departure service/airport assistance at airport
  • Unless otherwise specified, single occupancy accommodation is provided in rooms with a view of the Tiber Valley that includes sink and vanity. Rooms are with shared bath on each level (3 rooms per bath) in our 14th century convent building, The Asilo. Apartments, rooms with private bath and AC, double rooms, group or villa accommodations are available for couples, business associates/ friends, or groups for an additional fee
  • Linens and towels provided
  • Weekly housekeeping service with change of towels and linens
  • Free washing machine access
  • Good Wi-Fi connection and access to our library and film collection
  • 3 chef-catered, gourmet meals per day (buffet breakfast, 3-course lunch, 4-course dinner) — with wine at lunch and dinner (table wine provided at lunch and dinner. An excellent wine list is offered at additional cost), while in Monte Castello
  • Group dining service is as follows, with breakfast and lunch served in our dining room, etc, with dinner (weather permitting) served on our private terrace overlooking the Tiber Valley
  • Lunch and dinner are plated as follows: pasta course, main course, vegetable, fruit/salad, dessert
  • When requested at registration, vegetarian, vegan, and special dietary options are provided
  • After dinner drinks on our terrace overlooking the Tiber valley
  • Dining service is as follows: Breakfast: 8:00 AM; Lunch: 1:00PM; Dinner: 8:00 PM. No meals are served on Fridays (excursion day) unless otherwise specified
  • On Saturday and Sunday, a full buffet brunch with fresh pastry and Prosecco is served at 11:00 AM
  • On Saturday, homemade, wood-fired pizza is served at 7:00 PM (except on departure days, when a special farewell dinner is served)
  • Sunday dinner with antipasti is served at 7:00 PM
  • Farewell dinner on the evening prior to departure
  • 24/7 access to our primary building and library is provided, including access to workspaces, studios, and ceramics facility
  • Special access to certain cultural and art collections is available upon request
  • FOR VISUAL ARTISTS: private, or semi-private secure and monitored studio space is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR WRITERS: private workspace is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR GROUPS: Group workspace is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR CERAMIC ARTISTS: 24/7 access to our ceramics facility
  • Free access to lectures and events at the Teatro Concordia
  • An end of the session exhibition with reception that includes hors d'oeuvres and Prosecco in our gallery. Posters are prepared to promote the event with copies provided to all participants
  • 1 excursion per week is included (unless otherwise specified in the itinerary) aboard our private bus. Additional trips can of course be scheduled and given our central location. (Day trips are possible to as far north as Siena or Florence and as far south as Rome.)
  • Advanced reservations and ticket purchases for groups and individuals
  • Concierge services provided upon request at an hourly rate
  • Restaurant reservations (provided under Concierge services)
  • Car rental
  • Critique series with visiting visual artists
  • Artist materials workshops
  • Drawing and painting sessions from the figure
  • Cooking classes
  • Cheesemaking workshop
  • Pizza-making workshop
  • Kids cooking classes
  • Wine appreciation and Sommelier Courses
  • Wine and olive oil tastings
  • Vineyard tours
  • Truffle hunting
  • Ballroom dance classes
  • Weekend excursions to flea markets and natural sites
  • Shopping excursions to cashmere and leather outlets, to Deruta famous for fine painted traditional ceramics, and antique stores
  • Overnight excursions to the sea and day-trips to Rome beaches
  • Hot air balloon tours
  • Hot springs excursions
  • Lake Trasimeno tours
  • Umbria abandoned castle and fortress tour
  • Sustainable farming tour 
  • Babysitting services
  • Soccer, archery, and horseback riding camps for kids
  • Motorized mountain bike rentals
  • Electric car rental 
  • Golf-cart tours of Rome and Florence
  • Hiking/naturalist guides to national/regional parks - mountain hiking available
  • Fishing/Hunting Excursions

Payment Options

  • Payment in full (€500 non-refundable deposit is included. No refunds will be issued within 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. See refund policy for more details).
  • Non-refundable €500 deposit (Balance due must be paid a minimum of 30 days prior to workshop).
  • Balance payment (after €500 deposit).

Required Forms

All ICA participants; whether coming independently, with a group or through a college / university, must provide the following completed forms and information to at least 2 weeks prior to attending their program. 
Emergency Contact & Medical Information »Liability Waiver »
Proof of Insurance / Travel Insurance
Itinerary and Passport
For detailed information and to download the required forms, please visit our Guides and Forms page.


Day 1: Sunday

  • Arrive Rome/Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO);
  • Bus Departs FCO at 12:00 PM
  • Arrival at Monte Castello di Vibio
  • 2:30 PM: Lunch/Orientation/Rest/ Tour of village
  • 8:00 PM: Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Lecture:
    • History of oil painting and the Influence of Flemish School
      Painters of the Italian Renaissance

Day 2: Monday

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session:
    • Workshop:
      • Canvas preparation (demonstration)
      • Apply ground
    • Lecture:
      • Physics of light
      • Color of Light
      • Light and matter
      • Light and the eye
      • Color perception
      • Light and pigments
      • The colored ground
      • Construction of Surfaces used in Venetian paintings
      • Optical properties of pigments
      • Light transmission in paintings and use of isolating varnish
      • Indirect processes and the function of the underpainting
      • Interaction of color
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 6:30 Afternoon Session:
    • Workshop:
      • Transfer cartoon to ready-made canvas with colored ground, using the perforation and pounce method
      • Develop darks with washes
  • 6:30 – 8:00 Free time or independent work
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:00:  Lecture:
    • Venetian Painting and Painters

Day 3: Tuesday

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session:
    • Workshop:
      • White lead production (demonstration)
      • Oil paint-making demonstration: Red ochre
      • Colored washes and the “occult” ground
      • Develop darks with washes
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 7:00 Afternoon Session:
    • Workshop:
      • Continue with underpainting: Develop lights with white lead and dryer
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Lecture: Glaze mediums and glazing techniques

Day 4: Wednesday

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session: Continue with underpainting and develop lights with white lead and dryer
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch at ICA
  • 2:00 – 6:30 Afternoon Session:
    • Workshop:
      • Continue with underpainting and develop lights with white lead and dryer
  • 6:30 – 8:00 Free time
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Lecture: Oil Painting Processes of Leonardo

Day 5: Thursday

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session:
    • Workshop: Continue with underpainting and begin glazes
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 7:00 Afternoon Session:
    • Workshop:
      • Continue with underpainting and begin glazes
      • Working with glazes
  • 7:00 – 8:00 Free time or independent work
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:00

Day 6: Friday

  • Excursion to Florence: Pitti Palace
  • Depart 8:00 AM/Return 8:00 PM

Day 7: Saturday

  • Morning: Free
  • 11:00 AM Brunch
  • Afternoon: Workshop: Working with glazes
  • 8:00 Dinner

Day 8: Sunday

  • Morning: Free
  • 11:00 AM Brunch
  • Afternoon: Workshop: Working with glazes
  • 8:00 Dinner

Day 9: Monday

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session: Workshop: Continue with glazes
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 7:00 Afternoon Session: Prepare for exhibition and discussion of steps toward completion
  • 7:00 – 8:00 Free time or independent work
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:00

Day 10: Tuesday

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session: crating and packing
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 6:00 Afternoon Session: packing and clean-up
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Lecture: Glaze mediums and glazing techniques

Day 11: Wednesday

  • Rome/Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO); Bus Departs Monte Castello at 5:30 AM
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