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New Renaissance Atelier, Italy workshops, June-July 2022, Rome and Florence

The fifth time is a charm.

5 years ago, I was possessed by an artistic frenzy and, irrationally, I decided to share this uncontrollable compulsion with other art lovers and enthusiasts, and organize an Art workshops in Italy.
I put together a plan, where to stay, what to do, what to see, and after much toil and struggle, I was ready to go!
But then things happened, and I had to cancel the workshops.
I tried again, four more times, but every time something I did not expect, or did not want to expect, happened.
The last two workshop where ingloriously terminated by this ongoing global epidemic.
I still cannot believe that this year, together with a group of adventurous and determined art pioneers, we embarked for this daring art quest.
The workshops just ended and all the students are back home now, exhausted but, I want to think, happy.
The first 8-day workshop was held in Rome where we visited a few of the many museums that the Eternal City has to offer: the Musei Capitolini, the Musei Vaticani, the Sistine Chapel, the Doria Pamphili museum and the villa Borghese Museum.

The artworks displayed in these museums are those you find in all Art History books and the experience of finding yourself suddenly in front of the real thing, is like witnessing the apparition of a divinity: “It really exists!”, or “That’s where they keep it!” or “Honey, isn’t that…” are usually the first thoughts that come to your mind.
We saw an embarrassment of Bernini’s sculptures such as the David, the incredible Apollo and Daphne, Pluto and Proserpina, Aeneas Anchises and Ascanius, Truth Unveiled, The Four Rivers Fountain.

Like good art pilgrims, we did the Caravaggio tour to see 3 paintings dedicated to St. Mathews life.

We saw the Sistine Chapel, the Laocoon, the Torso in belvedere, the Mouth of Truth, Velasquez, Raphael, Fontana di Trevi, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trajan Column and the Arch of Constantine and so much more. A true art induced paroxysm.
During the studio time, we practiced figure drawing from life with the help of the fantastic models Turris Eburnea and Enrico Cecini, We painted watercolor landscapes during the field trips in Orvieto and Calcata, where we also found two really good restaurants…
Like a band of erudite and art loving barbarians, we would almost daily storm Florence from our refined encampment at Villa Montereggi in Fiesole, a 15th century villa where excellent organic olive oil is still produced by the noble family that founded it and still owns it, 600 years later.

We painted watercolor landscapes in their olive groves, vineyards and from the terrace overlooking the property, that spans almost the entire valley surrounding the Villa.

We drew models from life in the “Limonaia” a room that is used to store the lemon and orange trees during the winter, a tradition originated probably by the Medici, that were collecting various types of citrus trees as status symbol. For these figure drawing sessions, we worked with with Alessandro and Irene, professional models that collaborate with all the art schools and ateliers in Florence.
Florence is not big, everything is pretty much at walking distance, art is everywhere, sometimes it is overwhelming and I am surprised nobody in the group was affected by the Stendhal Syndrome. In Florence, we saw… where do I start: at the Museo del Bargello they keep the beautiful bust of “Costanza Bonarelli” by Bernini and Donatello’s and Verrocchio David. At the Museo dell’Accademia we saw the “Prigioni” series, the powerful and unfinished “slaves” that Michelangelo prepared for the tomb of Julius II and the also unfinished “Pieta’ di Palestrina”.

The Uffizi was truly unmerciful and hit us with Leonardo, Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello, Raphael, Perugino, Van Der Goes, Bronzino, Del Piombo, Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino, Caravaggio, William Hunt, Bernini, Del Sarto, the Doni Tondo by Michelangelo, Bellini, Veronese, Artemisia Gentileschi, Rubens, Rembrandt… and, finally, the gift shop!
One day was also dedicated to a field trip to Bologna, where we visited the “Compianto del Cristo Morto”, an incredible sculptural group of terracotta figures by Niccolo’ dell’Arca, dating back to the 1460’. We visited the Poggi museum where one can find exquisite anatomical waxes used to teach anatomy during the Summer months to the Bologna University’s Medicine students in the 18th century. We briefly toured the “Sette Chiese”, a group of seven churches that range from Paleochristian times to the 17th century. We visited the Basilica of St. Petronio, and strolled through the mediaeval part of this beautiful and welcoming city, my hometown. One major letdown for the participants of the workshop: not enough time for shopping.
Thank you to all the 22 fantastic students ranging from age 16 to 78, that decided to trust me and Edoardo, and enthusiastically participated in this big adventure, discovering and making Art, connecting with other people and making new friends. Thank you also for your input about the program: for the next workshop, I will schedule more shopping time.
roberto osti
roberto osti
Roberto Osti teaches figure drawing and human anatomy for artists at the New York Academy of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Formally trained as a medical illustrator before becoming a fine artist, Osti has contributed his work to many science and art publications. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries in Europe and the United States. He is the author of Basic Human Anatomy (2016), an art instruction best seller and classic reference book. His latest book , Dynamic Human Anatomy has been released in March 2021.

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