Certificate Programs

Beginning Sculpture · 22.5 credits

Beginning Sculpture · 22.5 credits 2017-07-30T23:51:16+00:00

Students learn to focus at the start of a project on those essential elements that allow then to obtain a likeness in pose and structure of their subject.

Students enrolled in their first trimester of study copy in clay a series of simply shaped objects; objects are assigned in progressive order of complexity and each one presents specific goals for the student to achieve.

Students enrolled in their first trimester of study copy in clay a series of simply shaped objects; objects are assigned in progressive order of complexity and each one presents specific goals for the student to achieve:

  • a large bell pepper in clay teaches the student how to set up and compare his work to the subject;
  • a cow femur scaled to 1-1/2 times life size in direct plaster (a material that hardens quickly making changes difficult) teaches the student to clarify and organize his observations before setting to work;
  • copying the features of Michelangelo’s David (nose, eye, ear, mouth) in clay is the first step to sculpting a portrait; students progress to the copy of a human skull, and then sculpt their first portrait from a model.

During the first trimester, when students work from live models, whether portrait or full figure, they start with a series of short poses lasting 6-8 hours if working from a portrait model, and 15 hours if working from a figure model. For the outcome to be successful, these short poses require the student to develop the understanding of how to structure and prioritize the crucial information of the pose. In this way, the student learns not to get lost in the myriad of information a finished sculpture might contain, and to focus at the start of a project on those essential elements that allow him to obtain a likeness in pose and structure of his subject.

By the middle of the first year, beginning students start to work on lengthier projects: sessions with a portrait model will last 30 hours and figure sessions, 60 to 70 hours, with the precise goal to bring the project to a higher degree of finish. During these exercises, the student is expected to learn how to connect the first two crucial elements of figurative sculpture: how three-dimensional linear qualities relate to internal structure. Once these two qualities are brought to a competent conclusion, the third element of sculpture, modeling forms, begins.

Upon completion of this course the student should be able to:

  • properly observe objects in 3-d
  • separate linear qualities from form quality
  • set up their work by “drawing-in and drawing-on” their projects, quoted from Drawing in Space
  • understand the procedure for developing portraiture
  • understand the procedure for setting up 1/2 life-size figure sculpture

Sculpture Drawing Program – 25.5 credits

Sculpture Drawing Program – 25.5 credits 2017-07-30T23:54:55+00:00

When students are able to achieve an accurate rendering in 2 dimensions they can apply this knowledge to the more complex task of making sculpture.

Drawing is considered a fundamental skill for sculptors; when students are able to achieve an accurate rendering in 2 dimensions they can apply this knowledge to the more complex task of observing and rendering a sculpture with its multiple viewpoints.

Drawing is considered a fundamental skill for sculptors; when students are able to achieve an accurate rendering in 2 dimensions they can apply this knowledge to the more complex task of observing and rendering a sculpture with its multiple viewpoints. Therefore, the Sculpture Program is broken down into lessons in sculpture and lessons in drawing (although third year students may opt not to continue the drawing during their final trimester.)

Students will spend three hours five days a week drawing the figure in charcoal. They will also have two hours one evening a week when they will draw the figure in pencil. Students will often draw on a light background to concentrate on line and emphasize the total silhouette. Precision of this outline is crucial for accuracy, as comprehending the figure’s geometry by locating and connecting the bony points will help the sculptor find and explain specific forms in clay. By also drawing with a dark background, students learn to identify changes in form or planes.

Students enrolled in Sculpture who perform exceptionally well in drawing may be selected by the instructors to draw in the model rooms of the Intensive Drawing or Painting programs, space permitting, to push the level of their drawing even higher.

Course Objectives

To introduce the student to the most important elements when drawing the figure: proportion, body type and gesture.

During the first trimester students do not need to finish a drawing but have the beginning stages well understood and solidly drawn. Proportion, body type and gesture must match what has been observed in nature on the model.

During the course of the year, students solidify the understanding of line drawing and introducing mass drawing as a tool in order to be more accurate. Proportion, body type and gesture have to be solid. Shapes have to be specific. A value key has to be introduced and the principle of how to work with values has to be understood.

By the final trimester students practice accuracy in line and mass drawing, key the values to the lightest and darkest value seen in nature, and work out the values in between in relationship to each other referring back to the value key.

Advanced students may take the drawing one step further and experiment with values, keying the background and shadow value referring to the value key, and if the quality of the drawing allows it, start working on halftones, moving from the dark halftones into the lighter ones.

Upon completion of Sculpture Drawing the student should be able to:

  • Indicate important internal information with few lines
  • Demonstrate understanding of proportions, body type and gesture
  • Demonstrate understanding of anatomy
  • Relate and connect body parts to each other in a rational way
  • Maintain symmetry even if foreshortening is present
  • Reach an accurate outline and shadow line in an earlier stage of drawing
  • Introduce a flat grey value, turning the drawing from a pure linear approach into a mass drawing
  • Perceive the drawing through shapes; light shapes and shadow shapes and corrections must be made
  • Refine shapes until they are specific, not generalized
  • Refine values to explain form
  • Refine edges to describe form

Anatomy, the Living Form – 3.0 credits

Anatomy, the Living Form – 3.0 credits 2017-08-07T15:23:53+00:00

Weekly lectures begin with a discussion of the skeleton and myology, the study of the muscles, then move to drawing exercises with the model.

“The Living Form” is a phrase taken from the 19th century anatomist, Dr. Paul Richer, in his classic text, “Artistic Anatomy”. It describes our goal as draftsmen, painters, and sculptors who study anatomy in order to see the shape and structure of the human form as it exists in life, as opposed to the altered and fragmented forms of the cadaver, or the static nature of charts and diagrams.

“The Living Form” is a phrase taken from the 19th century anatomist, Dr. Paul Richer, in his classic text, “Artistic Anatomy”. It describes our goal as draftsmen, painters, and sculptors who study anatomy in order to see the shape and structure of the human form as it exists in life, as opposed to the altered and fragmented forms of the cadaver, or the static nature of charts and diagrams. Richer believed that the key to understanding form is to draw from life regularly, and to complement this visual method of study with a solid intellectual understanding of the structures of the human body. With its strong emphasis on drawing from life in both the painting and sculpture programs, students at The Florence Academy of Art study anatomy daily. It is the goal of the Anatomy course to complement these studies and offer students new tools to help them understand the connections between exterior forms and deeper structures.

Weekly lectures begin with a discussion of the skeleton and myology, the study of muscles, then move on to drawing exercises with the model. Throughout the course a strong emphasis will be placed on morphology, the study of the forms. Students will be encouraged to study from various sources that include selected texts, life casts, 3 dimensional models, the works of master painters and sculptors, live models, and local resources in Florence such as the 18th century human anatomy wax collection at “La Specola” Museum of Natural History. The course will also include brief discussions of relevant historical figures and events that have contributed to the science of anatomy. Thus we place this discipline into the context of the history and tradition of Western figurative art. The drawing portion of the class is designed to help students commit the forms of the human body to memory. Extra work outside of the class is not required but encouraged. Those who attend regularly and participate in class exercises will be given priority for admission to the Ecorchè Sculpture course.

By the conclusion of Anatomy, The Living Form you will be able to work freely and confidently with the human figure and use the descriptive information it provides to create a believable visual impression.