“In a school of fine arts, it is one’s duty to teach only uncontested truths, or at least those that rest upon the finest examples accepted for centuries." H. Flandrin’s words, are the closest we come to articulating a mission statement at The Florence Academy of Art. With Flandrin, and so many others we could quote, as our guides, we teach the craft of working in the realist tradition similarly to how it was taught in the 19th century ateliers of Western Europe – not so as to produce 19th century work, but because... our most direct link to the traditional values and teachings of the past, which are known to have produced professionallevel artists in the realist tradition, are through those studios. Because I picked up pieces ot the tradition from many different people, what we teach at the Florence Academy is a blend of what I received from many of those I mentioned earlier, necessarily interpreted in my own way.
URBAN LARSSON. Woman in Pink Dress, 2002
Oil on canvas, 70 x 55 cm
In looking to the atelier system of training as a model, the Florence Academy of Art is different from most other art schools, where students go to a variety of classes and are often taught by many people. In art schools as they are commonly structured today, projects of multiple degrees of difficulty are thrown at students all at once, often by teachers with different agendas and points of view - there are too many "bosses" and no clear method of training in fundamental aspects of the craft, such as learning how to draw. Accomplished painters may give demos on how to paint a portrait, for example; however, it remains a mystery to those watching who have not received training in basic principles. In such an environment, students do not have a clear sense of how to progress and have no chance to develop confidence.
PAUL S. BROWN. The Connoisseur ‘s Choice. 2002
Oil on panel. 53,3 x 76.2
When students walk in the door of the Florence Academy, they are assigned a studio space and settle into a rhythm of working that will remain constant throughout their years of study. Urging them to become, as John Constable said, "patient pupil[s] of nature", half of the day is spent working from the figure, half of the day in their studios, working on specific exercises. We demystify the training of an artist and break the vastly complex task of learning to draw, paint, and sculpt from life into gradual steps. In the most general terms, students spend their days trying to see and put down exactly what is in front of them, for, as Leonardo said, "The painter will produce pictures of little merit if he takes the works of others as his standard; but if he will apply himself to learn from the objects of nature he will produce good results." To do this, however, is not easy: a step-by-step progression through the school's curriculum, from learning to draw accurately to learning to use precise colour values in oil or - for the sculpture students - learning to use correct structure in clay, generally takes students four to five years.
DANIEL GRAVES. Hans. 2001
Oil on canvas mounted on board. 40 x 30 cm
The Editorial Board of "The Tretyakov Gallery" magazine expresses its sincere gratitude to the Panorama Museum, Germany, for kind permission to use the material published in the album "The Florence Academy of Art".
© Panorama Museum Bad Frankenhausen, 2003
Bronze. 31 x 17 x 31 cm
Bronze. 62 x 15 x 49 cm
Oil on canvas. 59 x 70 cm
Oil on linen. 68,5 x 48.3 cm
Oil on canvas. 95,2 x 47.6 cm
Oil on canvas. mounted on board. 76,2 x 101.6 cm
Oil on canvas. 80 x 90 cm
Oil on canvas. 100 x 125 cm
Charcoal and white chalk on toned paper. 65 x 51 cm
Oil on linen mounted on wooden panel. 70 x 50 cm
Oil on panel. 61 x 45.7 cm
Oil on canvas. 38 x 46 cm
Oil on canvas. 100 x 46 cm