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The Atelier Tradition and its Community
“No Man is an Island” John Donne
London Fine Art Studios is a unique community of artists. It dispels the myth of the lonely artist; students and professional artists study with us for the consolidation of core skills and for the positive impact of learning in a group.
The atelier method is not a new way of working. The principle of bringing a group of artists together to work under a single roof dates back centuries.
In Italy these botteghe, as they were known, brought together a group of artists under the leadership of a Master. An example that set the precedent for Renaissance Italy was that Verrocchio’s workshop, where Leonardo da Vinci learnt his craft.
The bottega allowed young artists the opportunity to acquire important skills in their chosen profession whilst at the same time earning a living. It was also a way of passing down precious knowledge from one generation to the next.
Artist’s workshops were found across Europe, Frans Hals students famously took their duties to new levels as they retrieved their Master from many a drunken excursion. Rubens too was heavily influenced by his Italian counterparts and is documented to have had many artists working under his supervision, including Van Dyke.
Over time the nature of the workshop evolved and the importance of education and training took precedence. In France, these workshops were defined as atelier in order to differentiate them from the Académies. They subsequently came to encompass many different creative industries such as haute couture.
It was in Paris, under the tuition of Carolus Duran that Sargent developed as a young artist and obtained the foundations from which he would later rise to international repute. Importantly, whilst this community of artists learnt the craft of drawing and painting, they were not indoctrinated in a single style. As Stanley Olson observed in his biography of the artist, John Singer Sargent: A Portrait, their training was in the grammar and each would find their own expression within that:
“Great masters have interpreted nature, and not given a literal translation… Without this individual point of view, there can be no individual work. This shows how dangerous are those schools that, restricting artists to the same methods, do not permit them to develop their individual feeling.”
London Fine Art Studios, in keeping with a long line of artists’ workshops, has brought together a group of like-minded individuals and offers rigorous training in the skills of drawing and painting. As with the atelier, the artist-tutor works alongside the students, teaching by example and demonstration; there is a process but not a uniform style.
Moreover, the Studios provide the context for artists to connect and grow together through peer exchange, professional networking and the joy of a shared passion. This exceptional community-based in Battersea embraces tradition as a means of finding a new and individual painterly style.
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