Detail: Ecstasy of S. Theresa; Marble; Gianlorenzo Bernini

Detail: Ecstasy of S. Theresa; Marble; Gianlorenzo Bernini

This workshop delves into the precise methods and sophisticated tools essential for crafting a bust directly from a live model. Participants will explore in-depth the intricate anatomy, structural nuances, proportional considerations, cranial aspects, and facial features, while meticulously observing a diverse range of expressions and potential interpretations. Moreover, attendees will gain insight into the time-honored techniques employed by Italian and European old Masters. The program features a blend of interactive group discussions and personalized demonstrations tailored to participants' needs. Open to individuals of all skill levels, this workshop offers a unique opportunity to engage with the art of portraiture.

Detail, Ecstasy of S. Theresa: Marble; Gianlorenzo Bernini

During the workshop, we will also take a day trip to Perugia in order to visit the National Gallery of Umbria and view their remarkable collection. Afterwards, we will stop in Assisi in order to visit the Church of San Francesco, one of the great monuments of Italy, that features works by Giotto and Cimabue as well as an "all-star cast" of early Renaissance artists!  As a special treat, we will make a brief afternoon visit to see the incredible marble sculpture inside and outside of the Duomo of Orvieto, one of which the most remarkable examples of Italian Gothic architecture with some of the most renowned late medieval marble sculptures.  The opportunity to observe and discuss these great works of Italian art will enhance your understanding of workshop topics, while also enriching your knowledge of the history of art.

Study after Donatello; Polychromed wood; Dionisio Cimarelli

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 one excursion per week and many additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee. Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.  Materials for the course will be available in the ICA Art Supply store in Monte Castello.

Tools List BUST IN CLAY

Monte Castello Moonrise, Photograph, Sarah Slade

 

 

Situated in one of the most beautiful regions of Italy, the idyllic medieval hill town of Monte Castello di Vibio, provides both amazingly picturesque vistas as well as unique challenges for the painter. Majestic mountains stairstep their way into the distance, as their deep green forested hillsides fade to blue gray. The famed, Tiber River, winds like a giant serpent through the valley on its path to Rome, and farm fields and meadows become ribbons on hillsides.

In describing this environment, one cannot help but wax poetic about the opportunities that it provides for the landscape painter. Itis a place both steeped in history, yet constantly changing. Gates open to panoramas that locals refer to as Porta Montanna (“Door to the Mountains”) and the south-facing, Porta Maggio (“Door of May”). To the southwest, where mountain ridges collide above the village of Doglio, the Bocca della Stregna (the Witches Mouth) sometimes reveals the source of its name as the moaning wind circles through its crevices. Castles in the distance appear and disappear in the morning fog as swallows dart in and out of a vista called simply, il Mare (the sea). Far off in the distance to the east lie the mysterious Sibillini Mountains, home of the famed Sybill and the mountain towns of Norcia and the breathtaking valley of Castelluccio, where wildflowers carpet the ground and wolves still howl at night. It is a timeless landscape where past and present meet in the eyes of those lucky enough to experience it. This workshop and your immersion in the surroundings will provide unforgettable experiences. This non-touristed location will allow you to enjoy this small town and its authentic ambiance.

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 one excursion per week and many additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee. Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.

The immersive workshop may be taken for one or for two weeks in duration.  In either case, participants will cover the essential aspects of outdoor landscape painting: choosing a motif, working quickly and directly, controlling value and color to create compelling harmonies, and thinking intentionally about form.

We will meet together four days a week, with weekends allowing time for independent painting time and Friday’s reserved for excursions. The first week will include ample instruction and support from the instructor. The second week students will be guided as they approach the landscape with more confidence and clarity. Painting sessions will be scheduled generally: 9am-1pm and 4pm-7pm Monday-Thursday.

Included in the workshop are two excursions: to Florence in Week 1 and to Assisi to see the unforgettable Giotto frescos in the Church of San francesco, in Week 2.

San Gimignano, Kevin Wixted

Using the remarkable landscape, the art and architecture of Italy as  inspiration, this workshop investigates the ways in which perceptual study can lead to pure abstraction. In the beautiful setting of Monte Castello di Vibio, we begin with drawings and watercolor studies on-site in the village and surrounding landscape.  These studies are the nucleus for larger studio paintings in oils or acrylic that begin to explore abstract principles that are found in all genres of art. Projects cover a broad range of approaches and concepts including observational painting, color theory and biomorphic/geometric abstraction. Daily painting sessions are augmented with field trips, slide talks, and group critiques.

 

Annunciation, Piero della Francesca

Midway through our journey, we will have an important "roadtrip," that will enhance our objectives through viewing paintings by Piero della Francesca in Monterchi, Sansepolcro, and Arezzo, before moving on to FlorenceWe arrive in Florence, to see the city in the golden light and enjoy a fantastic dinner! The next morning, we will visit the Monastery of San Marco, after which, participants will have the remainder of the day to explore according to their objectives. The following day, proceeding by train to Assisi, we will see the great S.Francis cycle of Giotto in the Basilica of Saint Francis, before we re-join our bus on our return to Monte Castello!  The following week, participants will focus on their objectives in our serene village.

Our workshop is centered  in the remarkably well-preserved Umbrian hill town of Monte Castello di Vibio.Here, your stay is all-inclusive, from the time our welcome service greets you at the Rome Fiumicino, Leonardo Da Vinci Airport (FCO) - aboard our comfortable private bus - until our bur returns you to FCO and our staff bids you a farewell at the airport, our staff facilitates comprehensive services. In Monte Castello, we allow complete focus by providing: 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. (Additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee.) Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided. All these factors, allow for an environment of focus and clarity, in which participants are free to integrate all of the experiences of this wonderful country and its extraordinary artistic traditions.

Monte Castello di Vibio, view to the Sibillini Mountains

 

 

 

 

 

Italy is synonymous in many minds with olive oil and it has traditionally produced some of the finest in the world! Here, in Umbria - the region called the Green Heart of Italy -  a land of olive trees, grape vines, wheat fields, and rich in ancient traditions - we are very fortunate to produce some of the finest oils in Italy. Our little village is surrounded by olive orchards in every direction and their yield has claimed numerous regional and national awards. This Green-Gold as it is sometimes called, is the pride of our region and our locality.  Those who have never experienced the flavor of freshly-pressed Umbrian pure virgin olive oil will be amazed by the complex flavor: smelling of the green of freshly cut grass, then rich and buttery, and finally - a spicy finish - it is among the most complex oils in the world!

 

From our mountain castle village, we are fortunate to be within a mornings walk of Passo del Palomba, a farm estate owned by Alessandro Gilotti and his wife, Claudia.  Sandro is an internationally renowned expert on olive oil, and owner of one of the most highly-regarded producers in the region. The couples passion for this land as well as for the oil and wine they produce, is infectious and participants will soon be won over by their enthusiasm for the health benefits of his oil and his vast knowledge of cultivation and production.

The course is designed for all levels of interest, those with a general interest in simply learning more about quality olive oil in  spectacularly beautiful setting will be equally enriched by the workshop as those with careers in the culinary arts, seeking to enhance their expertise and credentials. The week-long workshop, will consist of four, three-hour classes, held on the farm of the Passo del Palomba estate from Monday to Thursday.  Day-five will be held at our Asilo facility, where we will do a tasting paired with dinner, accompanied by local wines of note. Afternoons will be spent in Monte Castello with excursions to local wineries, food and wine tastings, and a truffle hunt.

Topics to be addressed in our time at Passo della Palomba:

 

During your stay, you will be housed at a beautiful and grand, 17th c. villa, located on a forested mountain overlooking Tiber valley.

Surrounded on all-sides by olive groves, carefully kept lawns and grand cypress trees, hedges of lavender and rosemary grace the landscape, with a vegetable garden for guest use - the setting is idyllic.  The stately villa itself is completely gated and fenced and features unique architectural elements, such as beautifully painted beamed and brick domed ceilings, terracotta tiled floors, stone walls, unique fireplaces, arched doorways and wooden-shuttered windows, all complemented by the stylish furnishing and decor throughout.  The designer kitchen features the most elegant contemporary appliances and features.The main house sleeps ten (four bedrooms, all en-suite). In addition, a stone cottage and sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms, with a separate bathrooms, and provides several sitting and relaxation areas in addition to a very comfortable main lounge. A large upper terrace includes a shaded area, perfect for dining and appreciating spectacular sunsets and mountain views.  The lower patio surrounds a magnificent infinity pool.  The villa is a stunning property that will provide unforgettable experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

The most basic and important skill that an artist must acquire is the ability to draw. Drawing from plaster casts of Ancient and Renaissance sculptures is one of the most traditional and effective ways for an artist to enhance their drawing skills.

Here in Monte Castello di Vibio, students will work from plaster casts in our collection. Striving towards accuracy at all times, students will render a drawing of a cast of their choice. The process is intensive and time-consuming, but those willing to put in the hard work will be rewarded with heightened skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives as artists.

As part of the course, participants will make an excursion to view original drawings in the Gabinetto dei Disegni at the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence.  Seeing a drawing touched and executed by the hands of masters such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raffaello is an experience one never forgets.

A VERY SHORT HISTORY OF CAST DRAWING

From ancient times until the nineteenth century, the ability to realistically depict the visual world was mandatory for any working artist. An essential part of an artist’s training was drawing from plaster casts of Ancient and Renaissance sculpture. This practice dates back to the late Renaissance, although perhaps the most famous cast drawing program is the one executed in the French academies of the 19th century. Only upon completion of an intensive period of cast drawing were students permitted to work from the live model. The rigor of cast drawing produced countless artists with highly refined skills, many of whom created masterpieces that fill our museums to this day.

Today we have a less structured system but the training to become a highly skilled artist is no less rigorous. Classical programs always involve a heavy emphasis on cast drawing, allowing students to practice proportion, understand shading, and gain an appreciation of the aesthetics of the classical world.

Materials for the course will be available in the ICA Art Supply store in Monte Castello.

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 one excursion per week and many additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee. Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.

A knowledge of surface anatomy and its underlying structure has been a central tenet of figurative art throughout history.  This is nowhere more evident than in the art of the Italian Renaissance, when man himself became an appropriate subject matter for works of art.

Artists such as Leonardo drew from dissections to better understand the underlying structure of the body and the mechanics of the human figure.  Since this time, drawing from the nude has been the bedrock of an artist’s training, and the study of human anatomy continues to be an essential part of that process.

In this two-week workshop, you will draw daily from the live model, improving your ability to see line, proportion and form. You will also study human anatomy in depth, utilizing the rich collection of resources available at the ICA.  Your growing understanding of anatomy will enable you to draw contours and render values with a greater degree of accuracy.  In short, you will learn to draw better figures.

Six centuries ago, in the Renaissance city of Florence, Michelangelo and Leonardo began the first in depth studies of anatomy since the ancient Greeks.  The drawings they created remain among the most beautiful in Western art. You will have the unique opportunity to view original drawings by these masters and others up close during our visit to the Gabinetto dei Disegni at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

We will also take a day trip to Rome to visit the Capitoline Museum and the Palazzo Massimo, both of which house Greek sculptures considered the most magnificent ever created.  The opportunity to observe and discuss these sculptures will enhance your understanding of anatomy and form, while also enriching your knowledge of the history of the figure in art.

Materials for the course will be available in the ICA Art Supply store in Monte Castello.

 

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 one excursion per week and many additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee. Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.

Autochthonous refers to a variety of grape from a specific terroir. In other words, a particular type of grape adapted to a specific soil and geography, as well as to tradition. Italy is one of the countries with the most autochthonous grapes in the world - and there are 545 registered varieties for making wine! Each one has its distinguishing quality and story. The Italian producers have started to revive these vines, some of which were almost extinct, and produce wines from them, just like the old times.

In this workshop, we will learn about some of these grapes, and their traditions – we will taste the wines, and meet the producers who make them. Printouts will be handed to help facilitate learning during lessons, wine will be tasted and there will be visits to wineries. Let’s dive into the wine world of Italy and see and taste why this country is so special!

Additionally, our workshop dates coincide with the annual Cantine Aperte festival, which is one of the most important wine events of the year! At the festival, the seasons new wines are unveiled and vineyards open their doors to all who are eager to taste the new vintage. It is the good fortune of this workshop that the event falls of the first day of our activities – and we will attend the event! It is an amazing celebration and will be a great way to kick off the workshop.

Throughout the week-long experience, participants will be housed in the remarkably well-preserved Umbrian hill town of Monte Castello di Vibio. The workshop package is all-inclusive, providing welcome and departure services and airport transfer from the Rome Fiumicino, Leonardo daVinci Airport (FCO). Aboard our comfortable private bus, single occupancy accommodations with spectacular views, 3 meals per day Monday-Thursday, Prosecco brunch and dinner on Saturday.

The workshop includes daily tastings and winery visits as well as lunch at a Michelin-recommended restaurant, Il Frantoio, in Assisi and other meals at noteworthy vineyards. Finally, our “off-campus” meals will include a dinner at the renowned Torre a Cona vineyard, where we will be treated to a tasting of their wines and an extraordinary 6-course dinner!

Of course, throughout your stay, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.

Those who have time might also consider the adding the additional 4-day tour: Little-known Wines of Campania, June 4 – 7, which will commence at the end of this workshop.

 

In this workshop we will explore techniques to build a colorful surface while relying on the stability of an opaque white glaze underlayer.  This is the core characteristic of Maiolica ware - a central component of Italy’s ceramic traditions. Monte Castello is in the region where this technique took hold and continues to be practiced today.  We will visit active workshops and museums to deepen our understanding of the tradition as we will also consider ways to make it our own.

In class instruction will emphasize a variety of application methods through brushwork and material choices.  We will begin by practicing on locally sourced bisqued tile.  In our exploration of colour and pattern, we will draw inspiration from the environment around us; working in cut paper and other materials to expand our surface ideas. Combined, these exercises will provide the building blocks necessary to approach the surfaces of the forms you make with confidence.  Vessels will be introduced through a series of demonstrations focused on press-molded and wheel thrown forms.  The same courage we develop to approach the surface will also be applied to innovative ways of altering and adding to the forms we create – and all forming methods are welcome.   Arriving with basic clay experience is encouraged.

Participants in the workshop 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 one excursion per week and many additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee. Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.

Experience some of the great mosaics treasures of the world and create your own mosaics!

Rick Shelley's comprehensive, two-week mosaic workshop welcomes both beginning and advanced mosaic enthusiasts.  Each week offers excursions to many magnificent treasures throughout Italy that will lead participants to a deeper understanding of mosaic arts.

Rick will teach you how to create mosaics.  At our studios in Monte Castello, learn to shape stone, glass and ceramic into tesserae. Experiment with glues and cements to adhere tesserae onto wooden panels. Work with the beautiful and traditional practice of gold-leafing glass.  Design and execute small mosaics using outlines, shadows and highlights - simple images, letters, or symbols are ideal subjects. You will learn first-hand, why mosaic is the most enduring form of pictorial art.  From our central location in Italy, tour outstanding monuments and collections in Rome, Ravenna, Venice, and more.  Visit mosaic schools and studios where you will meet Italian mosaic artists and study their techniques - all under the guidance of a master-mosaicist,  Rick Shelley. (To see Rick in action, see his video:"Making mosaics in Italy

 

Excursions

Week 1: of the workshop will visit the Duomo of Orvieto, one of the masterworks of world architecture, with splendid gold mosaics covering the upper part of the cathedral's facade, the mosaic treasures in the Palazzo Massimo, the Basilica of Mary Maggiore in Rome, and Ostia Antica.  Also while in Rome, we will spend time at the Vatican Mosaic Workshop and see how its distinguished craftsmen create and restore masterworks and the finest quality reproductions.  Afterwards we will tour S.Peters and the Vatican.

Week 2 of the workshop will visit, Ravenna and participate in a day-long workshop with demonstrations on the Ravenna Method.  From Ravenna, we will move to Venice, where we will tour the magnificent church of San Marco, we will visit the legendary, Orsoni Furnace glassworks, and travel to the island of Murano to experience their incredible glassmaking traditions.

Ancient Roman Mosaic Artists at Work

Studio work in Monte Castello

The International Center for the Arts provides the perfect atmosphere to experience the mosaic arts. Surrounded by the Italian countryside, the studio at Monte Castello di Vibio is an oasis in which to work and learn.All the while, 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 one excursion per week and many additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee. Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided. All supplies are included.

The two-week format of the workshop, allows participants three options: Week 1 only/ Week 2 only/ both Weeks.

Our Mosaics in Italy with Rick Shelley workshop is a rare opportunity to study with a master of the medium in a country renowned for some of its greatest examples. All the while, participants will enjoy a rare immersion in traditional culture, enjoy incredible views made possible by our mountaintop location, delight in gourmet and traditional food prepared fresh by expert chefs from fresh, locally sourced ingredients all accompanied by excellent local wine (or optional selections from our wonderful Wine List, for an additional fee). It is a rare experience, available to only 10 participants.

 

 

 

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.

Oil painting developed in Northern Europe early in the 15th c. and Italian painters of the next generation quickly adopted the medium to their own unique vocabulary. Antonello di Messina is generally credited with the introduction of oil painting to Italy and more specifically, to Venice. Artists such as Giovanni Bellini, as well as Leonardo further expanded the expressive potential of the medium. The processes that these artists developed consequently influenced the whole history of Western Art. 

This workshop will follow their methods. Working from reproductions participants will use materials of the time, prepared by hand in a traditional way. Beginning on a wooden panel, prepared with rabbit skin glue and chalk gesso, participants will transfer their perforated drawings with charcoal and a pounce, then develop a wash drawing with genuine sepia ink, followed by an imprimatura – a colored “veil” - that establishes a tonality and a very useful neutral color. From here, oil paint ground in class will be used to develop the underpainting. Afterwards, rich glazes of transparent colors made primarily from pigments produced in in our Pigments and Paint Workshop.

 

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 Perugia. 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 Northern Renaissance process in order to complete the painting at home. As part of the course fee, participants will be issued a unique case for the painting that allows the painting itself to be folded into a carry-on luggage-sized parcel even if not fully dry.

A hands-on workshop on producing painting and drawing materials according to historical methods. The intensive, week-long workshop is ideal for painters interested in gaining greater familiarity with their materials, academics and teachers interested in curricular development, art historians, and people interested in developing a deeper understanding of traditional works.

Born in 1360, painter Cennino d’Andrea Cennini, left a remarkable legacy, beyond that of his surviving works.

A student, of a student, of Giotto, Cennino left of us a remarkable and intimate record of the life and working processes of a painter in his time. His book is called, il Libro del’Arte, simply, “The Book of Art.” It provides insights into the training of the artists of his time, as well as that of the next generations of artists in Italy. Incredibly, this included some of the greatest figures in the history of Western painting: Masaccio, Fra Angelico, Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Raphael among others. To the reader of today, Cennini’s text provides the remarkable opportunity to participate in this legacy.

On a practical level, Cennini’s book is also a very useful guide to the production of pigments, paints, painting surfaces, and other materials of the medieval and Renaissance artist. In this however, it also reveals something larger than that of a recipe book. It speaks to a very special connection between artists and the materials they choose. Often, that connection resulted from artists making their materials themselves, by hand. Indeed, Cennini refers lovingly to the rare, almost spiritual beauty of, ultramarine blue to the easy, sensual qualities of a charcoal black as well as to their sometimes, tempestuous personalities of materials like, dragon’s blood!

What is revealed is a unique connection to the materials of the artist, in which all elements have significance. As translator, Daniel Thompson describes, “A very choice black was, and still is, made from peach stones; and almond shells were sometimes charred to produce another sort. To the outsider all these blacks would seem very much alike; indeed, they would probably be quite indistinguishable. But a painter of the medieval kind becomes familiar with the little quirks of personality in his pigments, and is affected by small subtleties which it is hopeless to try to define, subtleties not so much of color as of working quality, how the pigment feels, how it mixes, whether it tends to settle out of a color mixture, or stays nicely in suspension, and little things like that.” These “little things” can indeed have big effect to the artist who remains sensitive to the qualities of their materials, creating a bond that becomes a language of its own.          

We will use Cennini’s book as a basis for our exploration of making pigments and paints. Guided by the experience of our staff, in collaboration with our long-time supplier, Kremer Pigmente, and the advantage of modern chemistry and production methods, we will embark on a historical overview of pigments used by artists throughout the ages - actually, making many pigments from raw ingredients. We will observe sometimes miraculous transformations in color, creating beautiful and luscious pigments that will last …forever. We will then turn these colored particles into a variety of paints, pastels, and charcoal. Our goal will be to produce the following materials which participants will take home with them at the end of the workshop:

20 g. Jars of pigment as follows:

3 ml. Jars of pigment as follows:

Inks as follow:

50 ml tubes of oil colors as follows:

20 ml jar of

Watercolors in natural mussel shell, as follows:

Pastels as follow:

 

In doing so, we will understand the processes of levigation, grading for optimal particle size, grinding, precipitation of lake colors, and many other processes. We will also make surfaces to be used in a variety of aqueous, solvent-based, and dry applications. At the end of the workshop, an excursion to the National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia, will provide real examples from Cennini’s time and later, which will illustrate both the beauty and the permanence of these materials.

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 one excursion per week and many additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee. Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.

All materials for the class and the excursion are included in the cost of the workshop.

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    Photography Credit: Sarah Slade
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