Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Sunday, 10 November 2013
The Angel Academy's New Studio
2012 saw the Angel Academy of Art in a beautiful new studio on via Nardo di Cione in the bustling Piazza Beccaria area. No more running across the bridge between classes!!
Michael John Angel at the Palazzo Tornabuoni
On Oct. 30th, Michael John Angel—ARC Living Master and Director of Studies at the Angel Academy of Art, Florence—gave a lecture at the historic Tornabuoni Palace in Florence. The lecture’s title was Annigoni and the Training of the 21st-century Realist Painter. Mr Angel studied under Annigoni in the 1960s.
Born in Milan, Pietro Annigoni (1910–88) moved with his family to Florence when he was a teenager and lived there for the rest of his life. He studied art at the Accademia di Belle Arti and soon became known locally, but it was only after painting his first portrait of Queen Elizabeth II of England in 1956 that he became the most famous portrait painter in Europe. Bernard Berenson (the art historian, known as the infallible Bernard Berenson) called Annigoni the greatest painter of the 20th century. Annigoni’s frescoes and allegorical egg-tempera paintings are less well known than his portraits, but they are equal to or surpass anything painted in the Florentine Renaissance.
In his lecture, Mr Angel stressed that the training of an artist in this newly renascent Realism is arduous. At the Angel Academy of Art, Florence, the basic programme is a three-year one, and this is followed by one of two post-graduate options, each of a two-year duration: Pictorial Composition and Portrait Painting. Even three years is an expensive undertaking, and one of the main thrusts of the lecture and presentation was to garner financial support for needy students. In the old days, Angel said, an apprenticeship in painting lasted at least seven years. More such presentations are being planned.
The student work that was shown in the lecture and displayed on the easels was beautiful. The works on display were by Jered Woznicki, Megan Byrne, Nicole Lalande, Bruno Galuzzi Corsini, Brianne Kirbyson, Giulia Bucciarelli, Chapman John Hamborg, Marilyn Bailey , Lucia Foresi, Jonathan Scull, Evanny Henningsen, Katie Runyu Li and Michael John Angel.
A feature of the presentation was Angel’s larger-than-life-size portrait of the British entrepreneur David Aspin, which was mentioned in a recent article on Mr Aspin in the Financial Times.
Colour has three aspects: hue, value and chroma. Colour composition begins with a value scheme (lighter or darker greys), and there are eight or ten of these schemes (the disparity of the numbers is caused by the fact that the value schemes actually elide into each other, rather than being discrete; the cut-off point between schemes is not fixed). The two examples given here use what I call the Holbein Scheme and the Two-tone Silhouette.
The Holbein Scheme comprises a light-value focus (the face) that is supported by a dark base (the clothing), the dark shape of which is then designed upward to completely surround the focus. The whole of this is seen against a mid-tone background, whether plain (as here, in fig. 1) or representational.
The artist next chooses a hue scheme from the colour wheel (fig. 2). These hue schemes can be of complimentary colours, near compliments, triads, analogous colours, etc. In our example, Holbein has chosen a complimentary scheme: red-orange (the face, the low chroma dark clothing and the sleeves) and a greenish blue (the background). Please note that these schemes have nothing to do with the style in which the painting is painted: the Annigoni (top row, second from the left) and the Holbein (third from the left) are smoothly painted, while the Rembrandt (first on the left) and the Millais (at the extreme right) are very painterly indeed, but the value schemes are identical. Please note, too, that the overall value family of the mid-tone background is the main factor in defining the mood of the painting: the darker the mid-tone family, the more brooding and/or mysterious the painting.
The most mysterious of all the value compositions is, of course, the two-tone silhouette. In our example (fig. 3), we see, on the top row, a Rembrandt, a Caravaggio and a Thomas Lawrence, all essentially a number of light shapes seen against a very dark everything-else. True, there is a value range within the assembly of light shapes, but that range is nothing compared to the overwhelming contrast created by the dark “everything-else.” Caravaggio (on the bottom row) has superimposed his usual low- to middle-chroma yellow-orange to red-orange analogous hue scheme onto this two-tone value scheme.
Milixa Morón (www.milixamoron.com) continues to live and paint in Florence (she is from Venezuela). There was an article on her and her work in the March 2013 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.
Cesar Santos (http://www.santocesar.com) is an ARC Living Master. In the last few years, his work has been shown at the Beijing Museum in China, and he has had solo shows in Miami, Florida; Houston, Texas; Chelsea, New York City and the National Gallery of Costa Rica. He received first place in the Metropolitan Museum contest “It’s Time We MET” and, more recently, received first prize in the portrait competition at the Grand Central Academy in New York, where he was competing against top portrait painters from the U.S. and Canada. He has been featured in art magazines and TV programmes throughout the U.S. and Latin America.
Cesar gave a lecture on his brilliant work, compositional principles and painting process at Del Mar College last year; it can be seen as a six-part presentation on YouTube. Here is the link to Part One:
Cesar will be giving a four-hour painting demonstration from the live model at the Angel Academy of Art, Florence in November, 2013
After living and exhibiting in Paris for two and a half years, Matthew Grabelsky (www.grabelsky.com) moved back to Los Angeles (where he was born) and has had great success there and in Houston. His paintings are in some major collections—for example, his Alexandra and the Minotaur hangs alongside Bonnards and Picassos.
Matthew has also lectured on the new, re-nascent Realism and the Angel Academy at one of the big universities in Houston.
Harry Camarda’s cast painting of Lincoln is now part of the permanent collection of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. He has also been showing in juried shows such as the Philadelphia Sketch Club, where he won Best-in-Show, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where one of his portraits won third place.
The Philadelphia Sketch Club, founded in 1860, is the oldest artists’ club in the U.S.A. Past members have included Thomas Eakins and N.C. Wyeth.
Friday, 1 November 2013
Having obtained his Master’s Degree in Architecture, Sacred Art and Liturgy in Rome, Martinho Correia (www.martinhoart.com) finished his great painting of the resurrection, Ananstasis 2011, now in the collection of a Roman cardinal. He continues to paint in his home in Portugal and to give extremely successful workshops there. He also gives workshops in New Zealand, Canada and Italy.
Colleen Barry and Angela Cunningham are two of the greatest Realist painters today and each will be teaching a two-week workshop in August, 2014, at the Angel Academy of Art, Florence. Information on all the workshops is available at www.angelartschool.com/workshops.html
Colleen Barry: www.colleenbarryart.com/colleenbarryart.com/WELCOME.html
Angela Cunningham: www.angelacunninghamfineart.com/portfolio.html