Classical Art Atelier

Adrian Cooke Classical Art Atelier

An atelier (or 'studio') is a private workshop or studio of a professional fine artist, where the principal artist and a number of students and apprentices can work together producing pieces of fine art under the master's supervision.

Traditionally, the training a young artist received followed a set course, usually lasting four years, under the supervision and tutelage of a master artist at his atelier (or ‘studio’).

In the first year, the student apprentice copied master drawings and plaster casts using charcoal on paper. In year two, he would transfer his skills to live models. In year three, he would continue the same work but now using a black-and-white palette of oil paint known as grisaille, which allowed him to become acquainted with this new medium. Finally, in year four, he would use full palette of colour. This became known as ‘the atelier method’.

Until the mid to late nineteenth century, classical methods and techniques continued to be the standard by which art was taught and judged, and art academies modelled their tuition on this traditional atelier training.

Classical Drawing & Painting

Classical drawing and painting are not so much individual styles but rather an approach to drawing and painting that favours order, beauty, harmony and completeness. They follow principles that emerged from ancient classical civilizations and rely on methods and techniques that render subject matter in a realistic style. Perfected and codified during the Renaissance, these skills and ideas around design, line, value and form became the bedrock of artistic practice for many centuries.

Classical Realism

Although Modern Art triumphed over the academic style, many of its greatest figures - Van Gogh, Degas, Klimt, Picasso and others - were classically trained. In the 1960s, Classical Realism - a new style based on the old tradition - emerged, and since then there has been a growing resurgence of interest in these traditional methods and techniques of drawing and painting.

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