Classical Art Atelier

19th-Century Master Copy Painting

5-Week Online Course with Adrian Cooke

Our new online oil painting courses use Zoom video-conferencing platform for our live weekly classes, supplemented with downloadable study notes and image references, and one-to-one student support and feedback from your instructor.

Each class will include many demonstrations, guiding you in detail through the painting process, interaction and discussion about the oil painting method and techniques, and practical exercises which can be submitted by email for individual appraisal. This course is suitable for beginners, and for any professional artists who wish to fortify their skills and knowledge.

Make copies, young man, many copies. You can only become a good artist by copying the masters. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

The 19th-Century Master Copy Painting Course shows you the standard approach to classical realist painting in oils - the methods and techniques, tools and materials, best practices and useful tips, and much more - which are currently being taught at all of the major realist painting academies in Florence and around the world. Suitable for beginners, this course also benefits advanced or professional artists, who might wish to reinforce some of these traditional skills and knowledge.

Course Description | Learning Outcomes | Booking Details | Gallery | Materials & Equipment List

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Learn the Painting Techniques of the Old Masters Online

Our Online Master Copy Painting Course begins on Tuesday, 10th November 2020, and runs for 5 weeks. Two class times are available: Tuesday mornings or evenings. Please choose whichever time of day you'd prefer, and note that you cannot switch between class times.

  • Language: English
  • Time: Irish Standard Time (UTC+1)
  • Platform: Zoom
Morning Class

Master Copy Painting
Online Course

10.00 - 11.30am (UTC+1)
Starting 10th November 2020

Evening Class

Master Copy Painting
Online Course

19.00 - 20.30pm (UTC+1)
Starting 10th November 2020

Course Description

Discover the Methods and Techniques of the Old Masters


"When the Louvre was first opened to the public in 1793, it set aside five of every ten days exclusively for artists to study and copy its collection... Giving artists and students permission to paint or model from the works in their galleries became a fundamental means of museum education.” (from The Art Museum as Education)

Copying master paintings is one of the best ways to improve your painting skills, and painting the nude figure in particular offers the greatest scope for understanding gesture, capturing proportion, turning form, and mastering the effects of subtle colour.

In order to attain the highest perfection in painting it is necessary to understand the antique, nay, to be so thoroughly possessed of this knowledge that it may diffuse itself everywhere. Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Although copying as a basic learning tool lost ground as modern art began to be incorporated into professional art education in the 1930s, the tradition managed to survive, and in recent decades, it continues to be an important stepping stone for art students working in the tradition of classical realism.

This course offers a logical and cohesive step-by-step procedure for painting the human figure in oils.

  • Art Materials & Equipment
  • Desktop / Laptop / Tablet
  • Printer / A3 Colour Printing
  • Webcam
  • Internet Connection

You will need certain art materials and equipment to do this course. Please see Materials List below.

  • Live Demonstrations
  • Discussion / Q & A
  • Student Support via Email
  • Comprehensive Study Notes
  • High Resolution Images
  • Practical Assignments
  • Individual Feedback / Critique
Materials & Media

Working with Oil Paint

This course begins with a basic exercise that will help you to become acquainted with the unique characteristics of oil paint, as well as the brushes, mediums and solvents that are used.

The first steps in oil painting make no use of colour - instead, they focus on a technique known as grisaille, which uses only monochrome tones (usually of grey, hence the French, "gris" in "grisaille"). This technique enables you to learn how to mix, understand and apply values and render form. These shorter exercises using grisaille include matching a value strip, rendering a geometric volume, and painting a plaster cast using this monochrome system.

Core Principles

Method & Technique

The core principles of painting are revealed through a sequence of simple and logical steps: (1) applying a toned ground or imprimatura, (2) making accurate measurements and proportions, and emphasising a good sense of gesture using the dry-brush method, (3) delineating light and shadow, (4) creating a 'dead colour' layer, (5) using the full palette to develop the large and medium forms of the first painting, and (6) rendering the smaller forms and details of the second painting or glazing layer, and paying close attention to edge quality.

Throughout the course, you will be shown the time-honoured techniques used to create a realistic painting in oils. You will learn how to organise your palette and mix colours, including realistic skin tones, accurately and economically. Concepts such as gesture, chiaroscuro, fat-over-lean, and glazing will be explained and demonstrated.

Master Copy Painting

The 19th-Century Nude

For the main exercise - the master copy painting - you will choose to reproduce a 19th-century painting by either David, Ingres, Lefebvre or Bouguereau.

Detailed notes will be given, which include some historical and background information about the artist and the painting.

A painter must not only be of necessity an imitator of the works of nature… But he must be as necessarily an imitator of the works of other painters: this appears more humiliating, but is equally true; and no man can be an artist, whatever he may suppose, upon any other terms. Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92)
Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will have learned:

  • Set up and organise your palette
  • Colour theory and mixing
  • Dry brush method
  • Grisaille painting
  • Underpainting-overpainting method
  • Simplify shapes and structures
  • Subtly model form
  • Mix natural and realistic skin tones
  • Build up colours with increasing intensity
  • Work with translucent glazes
  • Handle edges, paying special attention to their quality
  • Understand the use of grounds, mediums and solvents

Booking Details Master Copy Painting Online

You can choose to do this course in the morning or in the evening, whichever you prefer - there are two class options every Tuesday.

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Learn the Techniques of Realist Painting Online

Our Master Copy Painting Online Course begins on Tuesday, 10th November 2020. Please see course details, important information, and terms and conditions below, or contact us to discuss, email or call +353 (0)87 660 9644.

Morning Class

Master Copy Painting
Online Course

10.00 - 11.30am (UTC+1)
Starting 10th November 2020

Evening Class

Master Copy Painting
Online Course

19.00 - 20.30pm (UTC+1)
Starting 10th November 2020

Course Details
# Master Copy Painting Course
Location Zoom - Online Video Conferencing Platform
Duration 5 Weeks
Class 90 minutes per week
Day Tuesdays (morning or evening)
Dates 10 Nov., 17 Nov., 24 Nov., 1 Dec. & 8 Dec. 2020
Times Morning Class
10.00 - 11.30 am
Evening Class
19.00 - 20.30 pm
Choose either morning or evening class All times shown are Irish Standard Time (UTC+1)
Instructor Adrian Cooke
Language English
Price € 100 EUR
Terms & Conditions

Please read this information before enrolling. By paying for this course, you are agreeing to our terms and conditions below.

  • Fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
  • You cannot switch between morning and evening classes. Once you have selected either the morning or evening class, you will not be able to change your class time.
  • All times are shown in Irish Standard Time (UTC+1). It is important that you know the correct class time as it relates to you. You will not be refunded for any confusion or mistake about this on your part.
  • Classical Art Atelier reserves the right to cancel any course or workshop at any time if the minimum number of students required is not reached. In such cases, your course fee will be fully refunded.

Materials & Equipment List


You will need a certain amount of art materials and equipment to help you do this course. Not everything on the list below is absolutely necessary - just make sure to have a basic supply of oil painting materials, and the more specialist materials will be discussed during the course. Materials and accessories are available for purchase at Cork Art Supplies, where you will be entitled to a 10% discount when you enrol for this course. We also recommend Jackson's Art Supplies UK.

Oil Colours
  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium
  • Cadmium Red Medium
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • French Ultramarine Blue
  • 4 x Bristle Filbert (size 4)
  • 2 x Bristle Filbert (size 6)
  • 2 x Soft Synthetic Filbert (size 8)
  • 1 x Soft Filbert (size 12)
  • 1 x Soft Round (size 1)
  • 1 x Soft Fan Brush (size 6 or 8)
  • Primed Canvas 10-12oz
  • Canvas Boards 30x20 & 50x40cm
  • Liquin
  • Refined Linseed Oil
  • Odourless or Low Odour Mineral Spirits (or Turpentine)
  • Easel (table, portable or studio)
  • Hard drawing board
  • Wooden Palette
  • Palette Knife
  • Palette Cups
  • Glass Jar
  • Paper Towels
  • Masking Tape
  • Skewer or knitting needle
  • Mahlstick
Master Copy Painting Online Course

Start Learning the Methods of the Masters

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