Hello and Welcome to Studying The Masters.
If you have found your way here then chances are, you’re looking to improve as an artist.
Or maybe you’re looking to learn about Art History.
In either case, you’ve arrived at the right place.
The Studying The Masters community has been founded as a place for artists, as students of the Old Masters to improve in skill and to also encourage learning and growth amongst one another as fellow artists; students and professionals alike. We intend for this to be the beginnings of a large community of like-minded individuals with a passion to learn the skills and techniques of the Old Masters and to also learn more about art history in the process.
This space is one that will thrive on communication, friendly critiques and encouragement, a space to build one another up in the arts, sharing knowledge as well as comments and insights.
Predominantly this platform will best serve those who are striving to study the works of the Old Masters; examining their techniques and the ways in which they overcame and solved problems.
Recommendations of artworks to study, research and find out more about are always welcome, feel free to become a part of this community of artists and help bring the Old Masters back to life!
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What does it mean to ‘Study a Master’?
We’ll answer this one in brief as to go into every aspect and detail to answer this question will provide enough information to write an entire book, let alone another article at the least, perhaps a future one for this blog.
In short, to ‘study a master’ is to make a detailed, analytical examination of a particular artist’s work, or body of works. This most often involves examining a particular piece of work at a time, maybe just a section of an artwork as it doesn’t have to be the entire piece, and reproducing it with a focus on learning what the master’s approach was. Trying to work out the master’s technique and methods or perhaps working with that knowledge already known but putting it into practice, is the foremost way to ‘study a master’.
Something that is always worth stressing is that a like-for-like exact reproduction is not the aim of the exercise, it’s not about creating a perfect copy worthy of any forger’s guild but to glean knowledge and learn, in order to put it into practice for your own works.
Who is considered a master artist?
This is a question that divides many. The straightforward answer is simply, any artist who has come to point of mastery over their craft. Every artist is always still learning, as pointed out by Michelangelo centuries ago, however, there comes a stage when an artist is making works that are considered ‘master pieces’.
As for the body of artists that make up the category of ‘old masters’ the timeline will be different for every single school of thought, master study group and art school. Studying a master is tricky inasmuch as if the artist is still living, copyright becomes an issue that needs to be avoided. This doesn’t mean you can’t still study a living master in private, as you can, just be aware that sharing the results online can infringe copyright laws as well as rub people up the wrong way.
For this community here at Studying The Masters, we consider any artist who is no longer living, an old master worthy of study, appreciation and learning from. We don’t make rules and classifications on which era they were from, what movement they represented or what style of work they created. If you can learn from them, you should do so.
How do you choose a master artist to study?
Often the hardest part of the master study process, is choosing a master and a piece of work to learn from…
Here’s one process of elimination that will help in your endeavour to make a decision in that regard:
Do you want to:
- Learn a specific technique?
- Gain insight into the style of a particular artist?
- Improve in a certain area of your art?
- Acquire more of an understanding of a particular point in history?
For example, you may want to learn to draw in silverpoint in a style like da Vinci, working to improve how you draw eyes and headwear typical to Florence in the 15th century.
The possibilities really are endless and the sky is the limit when it comes to studying the masters.
In order to choose, just focus on what it is that you want to learn or achieve, and then work from there. If that doesn’t bring much joy, then find a random artist or artwork and study a part of that, every single piece of art created is filled to the brim with lessons to learn and knowledge to gain.
Studying more than one old master artist.
Unless you are intent on learning the techniques and stylistic choices of on artist in particular, there are a lot of benefits of studying the works of many artists. You could perhaps pick a movement, or time era, maybe pick a bunch of artists from all different walk of life who excelled in depicting a certain subject matter such as landscapes, flowers. You don’t have to settle on one artist and spend all your time with them, or you can, the choice really does depend on what you wish to achieve.
Read the Studying The Masters articles
We are currently in the process of putting together our first Studying The Masters 101 guide and as each article is written, it will form the basis of a chapter for the guide, and we’ll post them here on this page so you don’t have to worry about having to wait for the guide to be completed before getting a taster of what’s to come.
Is there a right or wrong way to look at art?
The short answer is no.
A common problem that art viewers and gallery or museum visitors share is that they can feel like they’re looking at the artworks, but not really seeing them. This can be an isolating feeling and cause viewers to start doubting themselves.
The good news is that you don’t have to be an art scholar or possess any natural talents in order to really see art, and analyse the works that really catch your eye.
In this article, we’ll discuss a method for analysing artworks using a series of questions; a systematic approach that can be followed as much or as little as you see fit.
After reading this and giving it a go, you will see for yourself that you do not need to be an art scholar in order to view art like an expert.
There is an age old methodology for learning, increasing technical skill and finding creative inspiration that has proven by its use that it can effectively stand the test of time and consistently achieve great results. That methodology is studying the masters. In this article, we will look at how you can use the process of studying the masters as a way to find creative inspiration.
Join The Studying The Masters Community!
Here at Studying The Masters we study a master work every single week and post the results at the weekend over on our Instagram page – @StudyingTheMasters
We also run these weekly studies through our Facebook Page – Studying The Masters
Join our thriving community of artists studying the masters together!