Academy of Realist Art Boston - Curriculum
Modeled on 19th century atelier practices that were derived from Renaissance tradition, this proven curriculum gives students the skills needed to become professional representational artists.
This rigorous academy-style system stresses draftsmanship and traditional oil painting techniques, training graduates to confidently overcome the most difficult projects in drawing and painting. These fundamental techniques are the backbone of representational art, and equip artists to confidently direct their individual expression. Students of this time-proven system now lead successful careers as portraitists, figure artists, animators, illustrators, landscape and still-life painters and educators.
The strength of this program is fortified by the critical one-on-one attention paid to each individual student. This assures that important concepts are understood and internalized.
The program is studied in two concurrent streams, each containing four levels. One stream utilizes the sight-size method as practiced by artists such as Sargent and Reynolds and is taught through a series of exercises progressing from the “flat” to cast study and then still-life. The second stream utilizes comparative measurement exercised in the practice of working from the nude model.
l. Four drawings in graphite using the Charles Bargue Drawing Course textbook. Students meticulously copy Bargue plates of increasing difficulty.
2.Two cast drawings in charcoal with an emphasis on optical big form modeling.
3.Three paintings in oil from the cast, beginning with a monochrome study and progressing to two subtle color studies.
4.Four still-life paintings each with distinct criteria.
5.Fully rendered figure drawing in carbon.
6.Fully rendered monochrome painting of the nude figure.
7.Two fully rendered painted limb studies from the figure.
8.Three-quarter, full color nude figure with emphasis on composition and pictorial design.
9. Entire figure in full color incorporating additional elements of furniture and still-life and emphasizing narrative content.
10. Master copies: two Barque line figures in carbon pencil; two Fortuny figures in carbon pencil, one Prud’hon figure copy in carbon and white chalk on toned paper, 1 nude figure oil painting copied from an old master of the students choosing and a self portrait in oil.
11. Shape exercises, memory exercises, perspective studies, morphological and anatomical studies and technical exercises as directed by the instructor.
Stream A “From the flat” and Site-size
Bargue Drawing 101: Drawing from the Flat
This course is designed to introduce the student to the fundamentals of drawing. The course will work to develop a thorough understanding of shapes, values, and varying edges in nature. A step- by- step method, which utilizes a precise system of measurement will be used to successfully complete the projects. An introduction to tools and materials will also be covered at the beginning of the course.
Bargue Drawing 102: Drawing from the Flat
Building on the concepts introduced in Bargue Drawing 101, this course will challenge the student further by introducing more challenging drawing projects designed to train the student’s artistic perception and ability.
Bargue Drawing 103: Drawing from the Flat
This course is a continuation of the previous Drawing from the Flat course, which introduces subtler drawing techniques in graphite. The course assumes that the student has mastered the beginner concepts such as Big Form Modeling and The Construct.
Bargue Drawing 104: Comparative Measurement
This course represents the final assignment in the introductory courses on drawing. It introduces the student to Comparative Measurement, one of the most visually and intellectually challenging concepts in drawing, where the student’s accumulated skills are truly put to the test.
Cast Drawing 201: Drawing from 3D – Site-size
This course will introduce the student to working from “the round”. By using a plaster cast, students will execute a fully rendered drawing in vine charcoal. In addition to the new materials introduced in this course, the student will also learn the Sight-Size method of measurement.
Cast Drawing 202: Drawing from 3D – Site-size
This course will continue to explore drawing from the plaster cast. A more elaborate and visually complicated cast is used to solidify the student’s grasp of modeling large and small volumes, as well as subtle value shifts. The sight- size method of measurement is also used in the completion of this exercise.
Cast Painting 301: Painting from 3D – Site-size
This course will introduce the student to the world of oil painting. The student will learn the basic techniques of this new medium, as well as all the materials it requires. Using a limited palette the student will create a monochrome painting from the cast. This exercise will also introduce the student to the stages of painting and the hierarchy of paint layers required for a successful painting.
Cast Painting 302: Painting from 3D –Site-size
In this course the student will be executing a color cast painting. The palette is expanded introducing the student to subtleties in hue and temperature shift. The student will become more visually sensitive to color by working from a seemingly monochrome cast. The painting techniques and paint handling will be an ongoing challenge for the student.
Cast Painting 303: Painting from 3D – Site-size
In this course, the final cast study; the student is required to paint a large and more complicated cast (either a bust or a torso), as an introduction to tackling the human form in paint. Working with a full palette, the student will introduce greater color variation within the cast taking them into the fourth and final level.
Still Life 401: Red, White and Green – Site-size
In this course the student will paint from a simple arrangement of object that are a combination of red, white and green and of varying textures and surfaces. Basic principles of composition as well as advanced glazing techniques will also be introduced in this exercise.
Still Life 402: Tenebrist – Site-size
In their second still life exercise the student will execute a ‘tenebrist’ (high contrast between light and dark) painting with a specific guiding theme. This theme is usually musical or literary in nature, but is open to the creative vision of the student. The goal of this exercise is to address the challenges of depicting pictorial atmosphere.
Still Life 403: Perishables – Site-size
This course requires the student to execute a composition, which incorporates a perishable object (fruits, flowers etc.). The goal of the exercise is to push the student to a higher level of painting efficiency by limiting indirectly the time allotted for the completion of their work.
Still Life 404: Students Choice – Site-size
The final course in this series represents the culmination of the techniques and skills gathered by the student thus far. The subject matter for this final project is left to the discretion of the student with the only requirement being that the objects be placed at eye level. This final painting is considered the student’s graduating work.
Stream B – The Human Figure – Comparative Measurement
Life Drawing 101: The Human Figure
This course introduces the student to the nude model in drawing. Students will be challenged with “The Human Machine”, and given a step- by- step system with which to organize the information in front of their eyes beginning with a Gestural Construct and continuing with the Completed Construct, Articulation and the Massing in of light and dark patterns. Proportion and Gesture will be given special emphasis in this course.
Life Drawing 102: The Human Figure
This course is a more in depth study of the human figure. Having mastered the tools needed to execute a successful figure, the student will focus on their first fully rendered drawing. The course will conclude with big form modeling and the final accenting of the drawing.
Life Drawing 201: The Human Figure
The focus of this course is the completion of a fully rendered figure drawing in carbon. The student will be applying the knowledge and experience gained in working from the cast and thus accurate proportions, shape, values and edge quality will be emphasized in this course.
Life Drawing 202: The Human Figure
This course, while utilizing all the principles of the previous course in life drawing, will allow the student to explore a greater degree of visual expression. The student will approach the figure in a looser and more conceptualized manner by ‘designing’ the gesture, shape and values and creating a unique visual statement
Life Painting 301: The Human Figure
In this course the student will execute a fully rendered monochrome painting of the figure. The principles that are used throughout the cast painting exercises will be translated to the human figure, with an emphasis on the progressive stages of oil painting.
Life Painting 302: The Human Figure
Building on the previous exercise, this course will focus on short poses with a full palette. The student will execute dry- brush exercises and dead color exercises and finish with fully rendered limb studies of the model. The course will stress efficiency in both painting and observation.
Life Painting 401: Advanced Application I
In this course the student will execute a three quarter length figure in full color. The techniques used in the still life exercises will be transferred to the understanding of the human figure. Composition and overall pictorial design will be introduced here to supplement the anatomical and structural knowledge the student has already acquired.
Life Painting 402: Advanced Application II
In this final project the student will execute an entire figure in full color. This exercise is the true test of an artist’s ability, and composition, design and invention will be stressed taking the student to a higher creative level. Additional elements (such as cloth, furniture or other still life elements) may be introduced to further challenge the advanced student.
Academy Sequence of Study
Year 1 Semester 1
BD101 Y1S1 – 4 credits
Barque Drawing 101: Drawing from the Flat
BD102 Y1S1 – 4 credits
Barque Drawing 102: Drawing from the Flat
LD101 Y1S1 – 4 credits
Life Drawing 101: The Human Figure - Drawing
LOMC Y1S1 – 1 credit
Lab Old Master Copy, Bargue line drawing
AH101 Y1S1– 1 credit
Art History 101 Self study Ancient Greek & Roman art*
Year 1 Semester 2
BD103 Y1S2 – 4 credits
Barque Drawing 103: Drawing from the Flat
BD104 Y1S2 – 4 credits
Barque Drawing 104: Drawing from the Flat
LD102 Y1S2 – 1 credit
Life Drawing 102: The Human Figure - Drawing
Lab OMC Y1S2 – 1 credit
Old Master Copy, Bargue line drawing
AH102 Y1S2—1 credit
Art History 102 self study Medieval Art*
Year 2 Semester 1
CD201 Y2S1 – 5 credits
Cast Drawing 201: Drawing from 3D
LD201 Y2S1 – 4 credits
The Human Figure – Drawing
Lab OMC Y2S1 – 1 credit
Old Master Copy, l Fortuny copy
AH 201 Y2S1—1 credit
Art History 201 self study Renaissance*
Year 2 Semester 2
CD202 Y2S2 – 5 credits
Cast Drawing 202: Drawing from 3D
LD202 Y2S2 – 4 credits
The Human Figure – Drawing
Lab OMC Y2S2 – 1 credit
Old Master Copy, 1 Fortuny copy
AH202 Y2S2– 1 credit
Art History 202 self study Mannerism, Baroque*
Year 3 Semester 1
CP301 Y3S1 – 5 credits
Cast Painting 301: Painting from 3D
CP302 Y3S1 – 5 credits
Cast Painting 302: Painting from 3D
LP301 Y3S1 – 4 credits
Life Painting 301: The Human Figure
Lab OMC Y3S1 – 1 credit
Old Master Copy, Prud’ hon
AH301 Y3S1—1 credit
Art History 301 self study – 19th Century Britain and France*
Year 3 Semester 2
CP303 Y3S2 – 5 credits
Cast Painting 303: Painting from 3D
LP302 Y3S2 – 4 credits
Life Painting 302: The Human Figure
Lab OMC Y3S2 – 1 credit
Old Master Copy, Nude figure painting
AH302 Y2S2 – 1 credit
Art History 302 self study - Modern Conceptual Exploration*
Year 4 Semester 1
SL401 Y4S1 – 5 credits
Still-life 401: Red, White and Green
SL402 Y4S1 – 5 credits
Still-life 402: Tenebrist
LP401 Y4S1 – 4 credits
Life Painting 401: The Human Figure
Lab OMC Y4S1 – 1 credit
Old Master Copy, portrait
BP401 Y4S1–1 credit
Business Practice 401 self study – Realism today, galleries, dealers, critics
Year 4 Semester 2
SL403 Y4S2 – 5 credits
Still-life 403: Perishables
SL404 Y4S2 – 5 credits
Still-life 404: Student choice
LP402 Y4S2 – 4 credits
Life Painting 402: The Human Figure
BP402 Y4S2 – 1 credit
Business Practice 402 self study – Business Plan, Portfolio
*Art History study is conducted from a reading list prepared in conjunction with the senior instructor. The primary learning outcome will be to understand the structural conventions and technical methods utilized by great artists to imbue their work with a nuanced beauty and meaning.