Updated: Mar 23
We are surrounded by the works of artistic geniuses.Can you look up at the roof of the Sistine Chapel and not want to recreate Michelangelo’s masterpiece? Can you stare at Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and not wish for yourself to have been the gifted genius who produced it?
The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso, The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Hokusai, and the list goes on. These are masterpieces, and in essence, the teachings that only the worthy can learn from. But, there is a difference between imitating a piece and getting inspiration from it.
While imitation is a great way of learning the arts, it is definitely not the only one and it shouldn’t be. Copying the Masters can make you a good student, but to become an artist you have to be inspired and create your own pieces. To do this, you have to expand your knowledge. Here’s how.
The human body has been celebrated throughout the history. Artists have never shied away from expressing their thoughts through creations so lively that they almost speak. While the masters may effortlessly present every single emotion, human anatomy is one of the most complex fields for an artist. An artist has to learn to draw distinct expressions, movements, and of course, the fundamental differences between a male and a female body. It is a constant learning process. The more you practice the art, the more you discover, the better you get, the more you learn, and the cycle continues. You have to understand the movement of every single muscle in the human body. Whether you paint the twitch in an eye or a sword attack, you have to make sure that you get all the movements right.
Without light there can be no art. Your use of light in a painting cannot be an afterthought. You must have a deep understanding of how light plays with objects, and how you can portray that playfulness in your piece. Everything you see is because of light, but the objects that are touched by light create shadows. Again, light creates different effects depending on whether it is natural or artificial. While it is easier to work with artificial light, natural light has a mind of its own. You have to learn how these lights differ in their basic nature and how you can use them to create the art piece that you have envisioned in your mind.
Perspective is one of the basic tenets of realism in art. Artists use it to create lifelike representations of the world around us on their two-dimensional canvas. Perspective in an artist comes with training and practice. It is an ethereal feeling to see your work come alive because everything on the canvas seems to exist in 3D. As you advance, you come across 1-point, 2-point, and 3-point perspective.
You have to take that journey from being an art student to becoming an artist and centers of learning like Florence Classical Arts Academy understand that. They offer courses that teach the students the intricacies of human anatomy, use of light, and the magic of perspective. A course at such a prestigious institute helps artists to better translate their vision into art, bring depth to their style, and level up to the next league. Of course, students can take inspiration from the masters, but such courses give them the tools to create a style of their own. And that is the key.