Foundations of Renaissance Drawing:
Online Apprenticeship Year

Interact with Renaissance History and Learn Renaissance Drawing Methods

This course reconstructs the fundamental training in drawing of an apprentice in the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio (1435-1488), the great sculptor, painter and teacher of mid-fifteenth century Florence. This is an online drawing apprenticeship with runs across the academic year and teaches you the fundamentals of the Renaissance approach to drawing, the history and purpose of each element of drawing learned. The course is practical and direct, focussed on delivering the best possible learning experience where you develop skill in drawing and understanding of the aesthetic and theoretical underpinnings of the great historical craft of design.

To reconstitute the Renaissance world of drawing and provide authentic historical training, the course is rich in exploration of traditional craft practices, Renaissance naturalism, classical theory of proportion, and the philosophical ideas which influenced the course of art and design in the Renaissance. The course is built current scholarship on Medieval and Early Modern Europe, the history of drawing practice, Late Medieval and Renaissance texts which reflect on drawing practices during the Renaissance such as Alberti and Cennino Cennini, and the vast extant visual evidence for how the Renaissance masters drew.

Reconstruct Leonardo da Vinci’s Drawing Process Start to Finish

Through close analysis of Verrocchio’s and Leonardo’s drawings, the course illuminates how the old masters drew. Their process is broken down, explained and reconstructed in close detail step by step from the very beginning of a drawing, up until the final contour modelling and shading. The course gives you insight into the Renaissance approach to drawing, how artists of the fifteenth century used various types of stroke, line and mark to convey the angle, tilt and turn of the head, the dynamic pose of a nude figure, the depth of shading on a draped figure, and the ideal proportions of the human form.

The course gives you a basis in the fundamentals of figurative naturalistic drawing in the manner of an apprenticeship in fifteenth century Florence. The course is structured in a manner which gives you an experience of the first training an artist like Leonardo would have undergone in the workshop of Verrocchio. The course starts with a term centred on introducing the approach of the Renaissance Masters and showing you the purpose behind each line. You will see how they started their drawings, where their first marks were, and how they built their drawings up into finished designs. The following two terms focus on Portrait Drawing and then Figure Drawing, with each having deep analysis of the underlying logic and theory of each subject.

Undertake the Historical Training of an Apprentice to Verrocchio

The central aim of the course is to provide historically authentic training in the craft and art of drawing – training in the same approach used by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Pontormo. The course illuminates the system of drawing which underpins the figurative designs of these artists and teaches you its logic and application.

The course consists of Three Ten Week Terms across a Full Academic Year. Every class is delivered live, online via Zoom and is recorded so that you can repeat each class or view in your own time. Every class has a presentation at the start to ground the lesson in a particular aspect of Renaissance Drawing and then a detailed and thorough live practical demonstration of process and technique. You will learn alongside a group of classmates which will become a friendly and fun community.

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