A study of the figure in dialogue

Practical evening course

Courses and Classes

  • 24 May 2017, 6.15 — 9.15pm
  • 31 May 2017, 6.15 — 9.15pm
  • 8 June 2017, 6.15 — 9.15pm
  • 14 June 2017, 6.15 — 9.15pm

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Henry Hugh Amstead, R.A. (1828-1905), Design for the Sampson Vase.

Pen and ink over pencil on cream wove paper. 26.50 x 27.7 cm. Photo credit: © Royal Academy of Arts, London.

This dynamic life-drawing course runs over four consecutive weeks, focusing on the figure in dialogue. Working from one model in week one, and progressing up to four models in week four, participants will create studies of figures interacting, moving and communicating in the historic setting of the Royal Academy’s Life Room.

From the newfound realism and expressive drama of Giotto at the beginning of the 14th century, to today’s contemporary works by Paula Rego, artists have attempted to depict the interaction of life through the relationship between human figures for centuries; biblical, mythological and human everyday stories told through a visual language.

Key references to note include the famous gestures we observe, and sublime moments expressed within Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam; and the conversation pieces of life depicted through informal portraits by artists such as Thomas Gainsborough RA and Johann Zoffany RA, their sitters often appearing oblivious to being painted at all.

Furthermore, we experience dramatic shifts in scale when figures occupy pictorial space as “near and far forms”. This can be experienced in Piero della Francesca’s harrowing painted scene, The Flagellation of Christ. From the Baroque art of Sir Peter Paul Rubens, artists have been inspired by “rhythm and movement”, this then becomes expressed towards a more Rococo sensibility within the paintings of the Royal Academy’s first elected President, Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA Sensations inspired a later generation of artists, most notably the French painter Henri Matisse in his painting La Danse, created at the beginning of the 20th century. These are just a few examples that remind us of such a dialogue having taken place within art.

All such artists drew, observed and worked from life at some point, including from the life model, as part of their artistic visual vocabulary and learning. The Royal Academy’s rich history in doing so continues today – this course endeavours to embrace and explore such ideals and concepts.

Each session will build upon the previous by increasing the number of models, starting with one model in week one, and finishing with four models in week four:

Week one, Wednesday 24 May – Simple gestures (one model)
Week two, Wednesday 31 May – The conversational piece (two models)
Week three, Thursday 8 June – Figures in space; near and far (three models)
Week four, Wednesday 14 June – Rhythm and movement (four models)

Please note that the third session of this course is held on a Thursday evening. Sessions one, two and four are held on Wednesday evenings.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

  • 24 May 2017, 6.15 — 9.15pm
  • 31 May 2017, 6.15 — 9.15pm
  • 8 June 2017, 6.15 — 9.15pm
  • 14 June 2017, 6.15 — 9.15pm

The Life Room, Royal Academy Schools

£190 for weeks one and two OR weeks three and four. £360 for full course. Includes all materials and a drinks reception at the end of the final session.

Book now