Monday, April 13, 2009

Classical Realism

I have become obsessed recently with studying the classical realist movement in art, and with learning about the atelier model of classical artist training. Art students have suffered for several generations because they have not had an adequate foundation on which to build. My art education was a modernized novus ordo type of art education: it had many of the elements of the older, classical model, but they were rehashed and reprocessed, and run through so quickly that one did not understand why one was doing them in the first place. The atelier model attempts to correct all of that, and classical realism is the name for these types of artists. The atelier model is essentially an internship, or apprenticeship. One typically signs up for these schools and attends them Monday-Friday, 9 - 5... like a job. They last for four years typically. Some of them teach sculpture along with painting, so you come out being able to sculpt and paint well. Obviously if you do something like that all day for four years you'll get pretty good at whatever you're doing. It is a good education, and all artists should have it, but it needs to be adapted to fit within the modern university system. I can think of many folk who would like to study these methods and improve their basic skills, but could not commit to a traditional apprenticeship type of schedule. Nowadays going to college even part time is hard enough. I hope as time goes on the methods and pedagogy of these schools will get back into the traditional university system. I think if these methods merge with some of the best insights and practices of the contemporary training model something very interesting and exciting will result.