If you’ve found your way here then chances are, you’re looking to improve as an artist.
Or maybe you’re looking to learn some Art History.
In either case, you’ve arrived at the right place.
Studying The Masters was founded as a community for artists and art lovers, to grow in understanding and technical ability by studying the works of the old masters, and learning some art history in the process.
By thriving on communication, friendly critiques and encouragement, this community is a safe space for creatives to build one another up in the arts; sharing knowledge and insight, as well as ideas and inspiration.
The Studying The Masters vision is to continue growing and offering value to all those that become a part of the community, using written articles, videos and podcasting to consistently deliver informative content, bringing contemporary artists closer to the Old Masters.
Everything that we achieve is all thanks to those that take part in the weekly studies of the Old Masters and those that have an active role in the community, supporting the content and sharing it with others who may find it helpful or interesting.
This platform will best serve those who are striving to study the works of the Old Masters; examining their techniques and ways they solved problems. It will also be a valuable resource for art lovers looking to learn more about Art History.
So by all means, join the community and help us bring the Old Masters back to life!
What is a master study?
This is a common question amongst students of the arts, and many are under the impression that studying a master simply means copying the work of another artist and trying to create as close a replica as possible.
That is not the case unless, of course, your intention as an artist is to learn to forge artworks…
Studying the art of an Old Master involves far more than replicating a piece, mark for mark or stroke for stroke. It involves getting into the head of the old master artist, asking questions about their process and why they made the decisions they made when creating the original artwork.
The more you learn about the decision-making process of the Old Masters, the more informed your own work will become and most importantly, you’ll find inspiration in being taught first-hand by an artist whose work inspires you already.
If you stretch out the concept of what you’re doing and use a touch of imagination, the thought that you’re studying directly under whichever Old Masters you choose can be a deep source of inspiration in itself.
And of the most beautiful aspects of this process, you don’t technically have to produce a drawing or artwork of your own, in order to learn from the work of an Old Master.
What does it mean to ‘Study a Master’?
We’ll answer this one in brief because going into every aspect and detail to answer this question will provide enough information to write an entire book.
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 even 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 Old Master’s techniques and methods or perhaps working with that knowledge already known but putting it into practice, is the foremost way of conducting a Master Study.
Something that’s always worth stressing is that a like-for-like exact reproduction shouldn’t be 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 slightly different for each 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 considered. 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 and you should certainly never claim another’s artwork as your own.
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 an Old 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 Leonardo da Vinci, working to improve how you draw eyes and headwear typical to Florence in the 15th century.
The possibilities truly 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’re intent on learning the techniques and stylistic choices of one 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 walks 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.
What the community says
Studying The Masters has advanced my artistic work in many areas. I think what it takes to make rapid artistic progress can be summed up in a few words: Discipline, diversity, community and courage!
Discipline: 1-2 studies per week loosen your handwriting, train eye-hand coordination and increase your drawing speed.
Diversity: It is important to get out of the usual comfort zone, this sharpens the mind and the eye.
Community: Studying in a community like Studying The Masters provides support, tips and appreciation. That motivates you a lot for the next study.
Courage: The most important tool, be courageous! Try new techniques.Elas Arts
Studying The Masters helped me get back into practice after a whole year of only making unfinished drawings.
Challenging myself every week with a different master copy has helped me develop confidence as a draughtsman.
After seven months of participating, I can now make fully coloured works without any hesitation.Emilian Workshop
I started my journey with Studying The Masters almost 6 months back.
I’m at a very early stage of my art journey and it has been a wonderful experience for me to be part of this group.
I eagerly wait for the weekend study post for us to practice.
Studying The Masters has improved my understanding of various nuances of the subject and I have also been acquainted with many masters I was unaware of.
There are many studies which takes me out of my comfort zone which is a sure shot way to grow.
And most of all, being part of a community where everyone learns together is a highlight.
It’s heartening to see the different stylistic decision that everyone makes and have different outcome of the same work.
Also, practically every week the decision of choosing a master’s work to study is eliminated for me.
It’s a community that is built on encouraging others.
Glad to be associated with it.Archanaz Art
Joining the Studying The Masters community is a fantastic way to grow your art skills!
The weekly prompts motivated me to draw on a consistent basis and challenged me to push beyond my comfort zone.
And it’s a friendly and supportive art community where you can share ideas and get constructive feedback.
It’s the perfect place to increase your understanding of great art and improve your creative skills.Betty Bendelson
As the founder of this community, at first I wasn’t sure whether or not to make a testimonial.
But it struck me that I should, because the Studying The Masters community has grown bigger than myself, and helped to advance my own practice as an artist massively, improving my skill and knowledge ten fold whilst gaining some great creative friends at the same time.
Whether biased or not, I’d highly recommend taking part to anyone looking to improve as an artist, or learn some art history.JGlover Art