Classical Art Atelier
  • Classical Portrait Painting
    3-Day Weekend Workshops May 2018
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3-Day Weekend Workshop Series in Classical Painting with Brian Smyth
at venues in Cork and Waterford this April and May 2018.

In the first workshop, in April - Baroque Master Painting: Caravaggio, Velàsquez, De Ribera - Brian will focus on the reproduction of oil paintings from the Baroque Era.

In the second workshop, in May - Classical Portrait Painting - he will demonstrate how to paint an oil portrait directly from life. Both workshops introduce students to the academic painting techniques currently being taught at realist art academies in Florence, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe. See venues, dates and details below.

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Duration: 3-Day Workshop
Date: April 2018
Fee: € 300
Venues: Cork & Waterford

An introduction to classical atelier ('studio') painting focusing on the reproduction of a painting by one of the Baroque Masters: Caravaggio, Velásquez and De Ribera.

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Duration: 3-Day Workshop
Date: May 2018
Fee: € 300
Venues: Cork & Waterford

An introduction to the classical methods and techniques of portrait painting from life.

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Duration: 3-Day Workshop
Date: January 2018
Fee: € 300
Venues: Waterford

An introduction to classical painting techniques currently being taught at realist academices in Florence, Italy.

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"I would readily apply the term ‘classical’ to all well-ordered works which satisfy the mind, not only by an accurate, noble, or lively rendering of sentiments and objects, but also by their unity and logical arrangements; in short, by all those qualities which enhance the impression by creating a final simplicity."

Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)


Read what our students say

Classical Art Atelier is such a gift at a time when it is extremely difficult to find quality guidance in the arts. The instructors are both supportive and encouraging. I feel so much is now open to me... a clear understanding of what can be achieved. Mari Lynch
A marvellous weekend of intensive painting! Brian is an excellent teacher with a wealth of knowledge. I learned a lot from this, and look forward to putting it into practice. Kevin Power
A super workshop…with excellent tuition and hand-outs. I can recommend highly. Thank you so much. Margaret M. O'Brien
Delighted to be attending the figure drawing course again this Autumn. Adrian is a wonderful teacher, and the one-to-one critique is invaluable. And it's great to have a live model to draw. Jacqueline Bates-Gartlan
Thank you Brian for sharing your knowledge freely. You made the workshop informative and progressive. Christopher Heaphy
I loved the class. It has given me a new lease of life, and I am seeing everything in a new light. Deirdre Falconer
I really learned a lot at the weekend workshop and definitely want to do more of your classes. It was very well planned, with just the right balance of theory and practice, and the notes to take away will be very useful. Eileen O'Carroll
I have to say that this was an excellent course. What impressed me most was the amount of preparation put into it. It was so good to see the course objectives clearly stated and with defined timelines. I think you set the right balance between 'tell' and 'do'. Also good support to all on the practical work. Thanks again, I'm inspired to keep practising! Carol Prowse


As well as our main studio in Waterford, we also run courses and workshops in most of the major arts centres in the south of Ireland.

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Start learning the methods and technqiues of the Old Masters

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The Atelier Method

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

Classical drawing is not so much a style but rather an approach to drawing that favours order, beauty, harmony and completeness. It follows principles that emerged from ancient classical civilizations and relies 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, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso - 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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