Peek Inside a Renaissance Art School


It is Tintoretto’s own studio. The original drawing was made by one of his helpers, Odoardo Fialetti, and was copied and used as an illustration for the first drawing manual* ever published in Italy (1608).

Here is a peek into the sort of school that all the Renaissance masters attended. As you see, it is a very busy place. There are students and helpers of all ages—one of them is just a child.
An older student helps the beginners and corrects their drawings of the plaster casts. A shophand kneads clay or grinds colors. The old master sits at his easel while a helper prepares another big canvas or finishes some area the master has left to him.
“Find a good master,” an old artist’s manual advised apprentices, “and then stay with him as long as you can.”

* Il vero modo et ordine per dissegnar tutte le parti et membra del corpo



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6 Responses to Peek Inside a Renaissance Art School

  1. Pingback: Art History » Blog Archive » Resources for Art Lovers - Hockney, Turner and Hokusai

  2. MadSilence says:

    Best regards to an exceptional writer and blogger:

    A Bad Case of Blog Envy


  3. iondanu says:

    A lost tradition, I’m afraid… Sure, there are art schools and such but now almost everybody could be a master… A diploma is more important than the real work… I had some “master” at bishop’s university in Lennoxville who where really some no good artists… They had an authority (quite shacky!) only because of their function and power over students… But their own work did NOT command respect and admiration, as it was with a old master workshop…

  4. Antonija Gros says:

    Hi, I stumbled on your site and love it!
    I am curious where did the source of Tintoretto’s studio from the first drawing manual come from? Can you please site the reference?

    • 100swallows says:

      Hi Antonija!
      The etching is by Odoardo Fialetti and his drawing manual, published in Venice in 1608, was called: Il vero modo et ordine, per dissegnar tutte le parti, et membra del corpo. (Those are the commas in the title of my source, they’re not mine.) Frederick Ilchman and Edward Saywell included a reproduction of his illustration in their essay Miguel Angel y Tintoretto: el disegna y el dibujo, a chapter in the book Tintoretto, published in 2007 by the Prado Museum. Thanks for asking. I should have stated the source before.

  5. Thanks for the post, I’m always interested in knowing the day to day life of Renaissance painters.

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