When we speak of Rome it’s often in the context of world history. Its very name conjures images of grand landmarks emblematic of the foundations of Western culture; structures like the Coliseum, the Forum and the Pantheon. But Rome is also a vital contemporary city with distinct neighborhoods and visual character like no other place on earth. Its elegant architecture and bustling piazzas are counter-pointed by quiet neighborhoods and intimate alleyways nestled between ancient walls. The patterned cobblestones are bedazzled by shards of light cascading over tile roofs. The Tiber meanders lazily, its mysterious opacity rimmed with exuberant cascading plants and punctuated by arched bridges. Canopies of maritime pines dot the landscape and frame the occasional vista. Experiencing Rome, one forms a relationship not only with its beauty, but also with its mercurial temperament—a place that changes with the time of day, the weather and the seasons.
This course will focus on painting from direct observation in Rome. After a brief but thorough introduction to the principles of color theory, students will be a given instruction in the material practicalities of oil painting, namely alla prima methods, glazing in transparent and semi-transparent layers and time-saving use of mixed-media under-paintings. The balance of the class will involve painting on location at sites easily accessible in Rome and its environs. Rather than finished or formal landscapes, students will create small-scale compositions in oil that capture essential properties of light, color, and form with an emphasis on the dynamics of design and point of view. A day-trip to the seaside town of Sperlonga is included as well as an overnight excursion to Florence, where students will visit the Uffizi, Duomo and Academmia and other sites. There are no prerequisites for this course. Students will be expected to work long days, carry their own painting gear and be able work on their art in a public setting. Painting kits are included in the course fee along with bulk studio supplies like gesso, paint thinner, painting panels and medium. Students need to bring brushes (a suggested list will be provided), and a backpack with interior capacity of 14” x 17 “ x 6”. Students are required to keep a sketchbook throughout the course for drawing practice and as a means of working out compositions on site.
Cost: $$5,300 (includes tuition, accommodation, field trips, local transportation, group dinners + some meals, museum entrances, health and travel insurance).