Skip to content

Quick book review: Classical Painting Atelier

I had not read any­thing by Juli­ette Arist­edes, but ran across her book “Clas­si­cal Paint­ing Ate­lier: A Con­tem­po­rary Guide to Tra­di­tional Stu­dio Prac­tice” in a book­store while on a busi­ness trip this week. As the title sug­gests, it is ori­ented toward the kinds of infor­ma­tion pre­sented in a mod­ern clas­si­cal paint­ing school, gen­er­ally known as an ate­lier, after the 19th cen­tury sys­tem of pro­fes­sional French art instruction.

Classical Painting Atelier
Clas­si­cal Paint­ing Ate­lier: A Con­tem­po­rary Guide to Tra­di­tional Stu­dio Practice

I don’t per­son­ally find Arist­edes’ work to be par­tic­u­larly com­pelling, but this is a very nice book. She mixes instruc­tion on art his­tory, meth­ods, pro­ce­dures, and his­tor­i­cal teach­ing meth­ods with sug­gested exer­cises and excel­lent repro­duc­tions of paint­ings by great mas­ters of the past. Addi­tion­ally, she pro­vides brief pro­files of mod­ern artists who use clas­si­cal paint­ing meth­ods, such as Jacob Collins, Daniel Sprick, Steven Assael, Andrew Wyeth, and Tony Ryder. Arist­edes has a broad edu­ca­tion in art and a gift for lucid, thought­ful expla­na­tion. Her focus is far less on mate­ri­als and meth­ods (although these sub­jects are touched on) than on com­po­si­tion, use of color, selec­tion of sub­ject mat­ter, and other issues related to bring­ing an artis­tic vision to effec­tive fruition.


Posted in art books, painting.

Tagged with , , , .

10 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Steve Baker says

    Belat­edly, good to see the blog back up.i’ve read adn appri­ci­ated you on the web since see­ing you on Cen­nini. To the point today, thanks for the review. I’ve seen the book and read rec­om­men­da­tions from peo­ple I expected to like it with­out much thought. You’re opin­ion I trust to be rea­son­ably objec­tive. I have about 1400 books cat­a­logued in my library and about 200 of them are art books. After read­ing this I think I will add Arist­edes to the shelf.

    Thanks, Steve Baker

    • davidrourke says


      Thanks for the vote of con­fi­dence. Let me know what you think of the book.

      • Carole says

        It is a fab­u­lous book — my only crit­i­cism being, that Eng­lish artists such as Lucien Freud and Jenny Sav­ille are not featured.

        How­ever, it ‘opened my eyes’ to some Amer­i­can artists that I was not yet aware of.

        I am shortly pur­pos­ing to pur­chase the draw­ing book by the same author, but do you know, if is it writ­ten in the same for­mat — i.e does it include fea­tures on par­tic­u­lar artists towards the end.

        • David Rourke says


          I think of it as a fairly per­sonal book that makes no attempt to cover all of mod­ern real­ists, or even a fair rep­re­sen­ta­tion of them. There are plenty of peo­ple not rep­re­sented in this book who would deserve to be in any vol­ume that attempted to sur­vey mod­ern clas­si­cal real­ists whose work der­rives from an ate­lier tra­di­tion. On the other hand, so far as I know, nei­ther Freud nor Sav­ille quite fit into that cat­e­gory. Arist­edes, how­ever, cer­tainly seems more famil­iar with mod­ern Amer­i­cans than mod­ern Europeans.

          As far as her book on draw­ing goes, I have not seen it, so I could not tell you if it fol­lows the same format.

  2. strbizinfo says

    Aha, now it is clear … And then I just not very much and did not under­stand where is the link with the very title …

  3. strallinfo says

    Infor­ma­tive, but not con­vinc­ing. Some­thing is miss­ing, and what do not under­stand. But I will say frankly: — light and benev­o­lent thoughts.

  4. meninvest says

    Strange but true. Your resource is expen­sive. At least, at its auc­tion it could sell for good money.

  5. leadbiz says

    I would have added some­thing of course, but in fact said and writ­ten about almost everything.

  6. Felipe says

    Do not regret that I spent a cou­ple of min­utes to read your blog. Write often, even inevitably’ll come to read some­thing new.

  7. Newesrit says

    Arti­cle writ­ten ochen­tochno. In other words, and not say.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.