Photo Credit: Peter Kuznicki

About the Renaissance Workshop

Our central purpose is to accurately reconstruct the drawing approach and methodology used by artists in fifteenth century Italy and share the experience of this historical process. Our online courses aim to revive and share this lost process of drawing and the way in which the artists of the Renaissance learned and thought about their craft. The Renaissance Workshop believes it is essential to do this so that this vital part of European history can be a living part of our culture today.

Live, online drawing courses

The Renaissance Workshop offers a range of live, online drawing courses in which the drawing approach and methodology of the Renaissance masters can be accessed and learned. Our courses are interactive and provide a creative, immersive and inclusive historical learning environment. Classes begin with a presentation in which Renaissance drawings are decoded, explained and situated in historical context. Live demonstrations follow the introductory presentation and people draw along together from across the globe. The teaching approach is aimed at providing a sense of tactile and immediate contact with the past and the artists of the Renaissance while learning how they drew.

Reconstructing the Renaissance masters’ approach to drawing

Our reconstruction of the approach to drawing of the Renaissance masters is based on research into the methodology of artists such as Andrea del Verrocchio (1435-1488),Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and other artists working in and around Florence from the mid-fifteenth century to the mid-sixteenth century. In order to reconstruct their method and approach we continuously research the craft and artistic practices and traditions of the Medieval and Early Modern periods to understand the working traditions and practices of the artists of these times. Extensive use of the primary sources relevant to the development of the working methods of artists during the Renaissance such as De Pictura by Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), Il Libro dell’ Arte by Cennino d’Andrea Cennini (b. c.1370) and the Notebooks of Leonardo is made to gain as much insight as possible from the period. Deep and close analysis of extant drawings from the period is continuously made to decode and reconstitute the step-by-step method of drawing applied in the Renaissance to be able to illuminate their process in our courses.

Renaissance Workshop Materials

Renaissance Workshop Materials are historically authentic drawing materials and tools which would be recognisable to the artists of Renaissance Europe. We make each product in the workshop by hand, using historical methods. Every product is borne from the same historical European craft tradition as the drawings and artworks form the Renaissance. We make these materials in order to experience the historical craft and method of drawing in the most authentic way possible.

Jon drawing Donatello’s Marble David with historical Renaissance materials in the Donatello exhibition in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in April 2023.
Photo Credit: Dan Bachmann

Photo Credit: Peter Kuznicki

About Jon, the founder of The Renaissance Workshop

I have always been interested in art, history and philosophy. I worked as a chef before travelling and starting a degree in history at King’s College London at twenty-four after taking an access course as a mature student. I set up The Renaissance Workshop in 2017 as my first life drawing class while completing my degree. While pursuing a master’s degree in philosophy, also at King’s, I started running the workshop full-time. I am primarily interested in fifteenth and sixteenth century Florentine drawing and the traditional culture and heritage of Europe.