Classical Art Atelier

Master Copy Painting: 19th-Century Nude

3-Day Workshop with Adrian Cooke

This 3-day workshop introduces you to the essential methods and techniques of 19th-century figure painting by reproducing a master painting from this period.

Copying master paintings as a means of learning how to paint in oils has been a staple component in artists' training for many centuries. Not only does it help you to learn the principles and practices of the Old Masters, but it also encourages you to see and think like these great painters.

This workshop will show you the standard approach to oil painting - the methods and techniques, tools and materials, best practices and useful tips - which are currently being taught at all of the major realist painting academies in Florence and around the world. Suitable for beginners, this workshop will benefit more advanced and professional artists, who might wish to reinforce some of their skills and knowledge.

Workshop Description | Learning Outcomes | Gallery | Booking Details | Materials List

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

Master Copy Painting:
19th-Century Nude 3-Day Workshop

2nd - 4th October 2020

To enrol, please pay the workshop fee using secure credit/debit card payment via PayPal.

€ 300.00

Please read our Coronavirus (Covid-19) Safety Policies & Guidelines before joining this workshop.

Workshop Description

Discover the Secrets of 19th-Century Figure Painting


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

  • Canvas and Basic Materials*
  • 10% Off Cork Art Supplies
  • Comprehensive Study Notes
  • Practical Exercises
  • Demonstrations
  • Slide Presentations

*You will need to bring certain art materials and equipment yourself. See Materials List below.

Materials & Media

Working with Oil Paint

This workshop begins with a series of basic exercises 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 workshop, 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 workshop, 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: 19th-Century Nude workshop will be held in Waterford City this September 2020. See details below or contact us to find out more.

# Master Copy Painting: 19th-Century Nude
Venue Garter Lane Arts Centre, O'Connell Street, Waterford
Duration 3 Days
Dates 2nd, 3rd & 4th October 2020 (Dates to be announced soon)
Time Friday - Sunday, 10.00am - 5.00pm each day
Instructor Adrian Cooke
Price € 300
Book Online Now

Master Copy Painting:
19th-Century Nude

2nd - 4th October 2020

To enrol, please pay the workshop fee using secure credit/debit card payment via PayPal.

€ 300.00

Please read our Coronavirus (Covid-19) Safety Policies & Guidelines before joining this workshop.

Terms & Conditions

Please ensure that you have read and understood our Coronavirus (Covid-19) Policies & Guidelines as well as our Refund Policy before enrolling or paying the workshop fee. You must also complete and submit our Covid-19 Consent & Liability Waiver Form on arrival at your workshop. Download Form

  • Fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
  • 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 fee will be fully refunded.
  • This is an oil painting course, and uses oil paints, solvents and mediums (such as mineral spirits, turpentine and linseed oil) that have a small and safe degree of toxicity but can emit strong fumes, which may cause headaches, drowsiness and skin irritations. Our classrooms are well-ventilated but please be aware that we cannot eradicate these fumes completely, and that by enrolling on this course you are accepting these conditions.

Materials List


Unstretched canvas, easels, boards and basic materials will be provided by the academy. However, you will need to bring a certain amount of art materials yourself. Materials, equipment 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, or at Jackson's Art Supplies UK.

Please Note: It is imperative that you bring a portfolio case large enough to fit a canvas 50x40cm or some other means of taking your wet canvases home with you. Your work will not be stored by the academy.

Oil Colours
  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium
  • Cadmium Red Medium
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • French Ultramarine Blue

Optional Extras

  • Lamp Black
  • Venetian Red
  • Red Umber
  • Cadmium Orange
  • 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)
  • Liquin
  • Fast Drying Linseed Oil
  • Odourless or Low Odour Mineral Spirits (or Turpentine)
  • Wooden Palette
  • Palette Knife
  • Palette Cups
  • Glass Jar
  • Paper Towels
  • Masking Tape
  • Skewer or knitting needle
  • Mahlstick
  • Portfolio Case
Master Copy Painting: 19th-Century Nude

Start learning the methods of the Masters

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