…I had the opportunity to pursue studies in oil painting with the Sacred Art School in Florence Italy. I often receive questions about this experience and the programs within this school, so I have created this blog in hopes to answers some of those common questions below!
Initially, I did not anticipate attending this school, but the Lord opened the door for me and my entire time there was a gift. I first went to study for a summer, but that summer then turned into a year and then ultimately into two years. I pursued a study in their oil painting program during the years 2015 to 2017, and I am very grateful for the gift of that experience.
From my time at the Sacred Art School, I’m most grateful for learning about technique. I came to realize that there is a way to grow your skills as an artist, and a way to learn how to create beautiful work. Specifically as a catholic artist, I came to know that there is a sense of a duty and a goal in crafting the skills that the Lord has given you.
The Sacred Art School teaches techniques in creating realistic works. They primarily do this through the use of real models, still lifes, and the old masters. So, when we would paint, we would build our set, position our models, dress them with real fabrics, create the lighting, etc. The school had us do everything initially through real life study, but they also taught us how to work from photos too for efficiency’s sake in this day in age.
So, the Sacred Art school is unique is the fact that their institution is faith based. This was a factor that I really appreciated since most schools do not contain this component. The faith aspect of this school is in its beginning phase, so it offers a good platform for those who may be new to the faith or who don’t practice the faith. As a catholic artist, I was able to see how this faith component enabled the sacredness of the work to grow, and it continually drew us back to the ‘why’ behind what was being created.
At the school, they offer three different programs, but I would recommend looking them up on their website if you wish to learn more about the details of each program they offer currently. Each year the school is growing; so as one might expect, the courses/programs are subject to change over time. When I attended the school, I particularly studied oil painting for two years, but while I was there they also offered programs in goldsmith and sculpture. One common ground these programs share is that they all require a platform in drawing (in pencil/graphite) and studying form. These are the basis of each program, so it will be part of your studies no matter what. In addition to drawing, each program will involve some art history courses as well. Given the fact you’re in Florence, I’m sure that is something you will love to enter into.
One difficulty I faced was getting my visa. Every state in the USA has different rules and regulations for attaining a visa, so I recommend you research your state’s requirements/process for attaining it. I recommend getting a good head start to avoid troubles.
The school will help you a little, but I learned that Italian schools are not the same as American schools. They do not have the same assistance set in place to help you, so you may have to figure out some technical things on your own. It can be stressful, but if the Lord wills you to be there, it will work out. I recommend you do your research and get a head start!
At the time I went I didn’t need to. During my classes, they translated enough and gave a lot of visual demonstration, so I believe you will do just fine. Many of the instructors/students know English, and you will likely begin to catch on and learn some Italian while there. The most difficult classes (in regards to English) are the art history classes, because those are lecture format. They try their best to do a visual for the English speaking students (or those who speak other languages), to be able to follow along. I was able to get by, so I assume you’d have a similar experience as well.
Their program is one that’s like a full time job. When I went we were in the school from around 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, or like the 9-5 concept. So I would be aware that it wont be like a study abroad program where you have a lot of time to travel. You can travel on the weekends or on the holidays if you want. Schedule-wise, it is not like study abroad where you have endless amounts of time to travel, since your main focus is studying your art.
As far as finding housing goes, it’s all student responsibility, which is quite different from an American school, but it helps with making the program more affordable for us. So I did my own research and connected with students who needed rooming. Thankfully I roomed with a couple Italians who were there and could help with finding the best place. So I recommend connecting with students that will be coming in as well, and helping each other look for the best location /splitting that responsibility. The school could have something in place now for housing, but they did not when I was there.
This is a question I encourage you to bring with you into prayer. If the Lord is calling you there and wills you to study sacred art, He will make a way and I invite you to trust that He will provide. I cannot discern this for you, but I strongly encourage you to talk to the Lord about it and ask Him to reveal to you where He wants you. The Lord wants to place us where our unique gifts and callings will be developed so we can flourish.
I advise you to take advantage of being in Italy, even if you cannot travel far. Once a month Italy offers opportunities to go into the museums for free, and I recommend doing this as much as possible. Walk around the city, sketch wherever you go, study the masters, take personal responsibility of growth, and you will have a very fruitful experience. The school will develop you a lot, but you will also learn from from taking in the environment around you in Italy.
To learn more or for addition questions see the school’s website below:
Kate is a Sacred Art Painter, Inspirational Speaker, and Faith-filled Movement artist on a mission to spread God's love through beauty! Her inspiration comes from prayerful encounters with the Lord, and the rich traditions of our Catholic faith. When she's not creating something faith inspired, Kate is often traveling all over the world with her hubby soaking in the wonders of God's creation, or spending time with family and friends to live every moment to the fullest. To see her work, visit her portfolio below and share in this mission of spreading truth and goodness.
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