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The Barcelona Academy of Art is an innovative and inclusive school that inherits its methodologies from the classical tradition, using tools and approaches from various countries and different academies of the 19th century to allow its students to develop their own artistic language starting from a solid artistic foundation and technique.

Through its programs and following a comprehensive and complete training system, the BAA teaches different observation methods to guarantee the learning of all the concepts, techniques, systems, and plastic resources necessary for the student to develop their personal artistic expression, both in style as well as conceptually.

  • The Sight-size method
  • The Comparative method
  • The Approaches: Constructive, Light and Form, Visual Impression

How it works

Every day students receive individual advice on the exercise they are working on from a different teacher. This is what we call a critique, which is always focused on ensuring that the student assimilates the concepts taught during the theory sessions and is able to correct, modify or improve the exercise.

The critiques are made by different teachers so the students benefit from learning from artists with diverse points of view, specialties, experiences, and backgrounds. At the end of each term, students receive an individual and personalized global assessment (final critique) in which all their teachers are present. Five general areas are evaluated: attendance, performance, effort, attitude, and progress. From these, a final average grade is obtained.

At the Barcelona Academy of Art, each program (Full-time or Part-time) is made up of a syllabus of pre-established exercises that the student must complete. The methodology implies that each student works through the exercises at their own pace and progresses through the course program, as the exercises become increasingly difficult and complex.

At all times, students will be guided by their teachers to overcome each of the challenges that the program presents.

The BAA: a school with the spirit of an atelier

It is important to learn from the past
in order to create in the present.


The Barcelona Academy of Art has created an immersive program inspired by the 19th century Ateliers and Academies, updated and adapted to the world of contemporary art. Students of each of our programs will master the classical techniques to achieve impressive results and find their way into the current Art market.

In French, atelier means “workshop” or “studio”. In English it is mainly used to refer to a private workshop or the studio of a professional artist where a number of students can work together on producing pieces of art under the constant supervision of a teacher. In an atelier, students of different levels and with different cultural backgrounds work together. Each student learns at their own pace, while a tutor adapts feedback to each student’s progress. It is a very effective way to speed up the learning process and achieve excellent results in a short period of time.

In the Atelier System, a key principle is to not resort to photography, always using natural references, either with models, or with objects or landscapes. This is a core idea that applies to all disciplines: drawing, painting, sculpture and digital art.

The Atelier System is a systematic method of teaching that is transmitted from tutor to student. It emerged around the seventeenth century and later became the most used method by master painters such as Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Lawrence or John Singer Sargent. In the revival of the atelier tradition in the 20th century, R.H. Ives Gammell adopted the Sight-Size as the basis of his teaching method. He founded his studio based on the ateliers of teachers such as Carolus-Duran or Léon Bonnat.

The Sight-Size method and the Comparative method:
understanding volume, construction and shape

At the Barcelona Academy of Art, two methods are used in the observation of nature with three different approaches. Each of these methods contains advantages that should be used to help achieve a complete training adaptable to the different styles and individual interests of each student. For this reason, the BAA has added in its study program both the Sight-size Method and the Comparative Method, with the following approaches: constructive, light and form, and visual impression. The sum of these three approaches allows the student to obtain a thorough understanding of every aspect that can be enhanced in artworks to make them appealing and interesting visually.

The Sight-Size method

Sight-Size is a teaching method based on achieving the accuracy of the drawing by direct comparison on a scale of 1:1 of the model to the piece. The clue to the technique is in the name, as the intention is to respect the measurements of the object of interest. The purpose of this method is to train the gaze to be able to appreciate the differences between the model and its representation without the need to use external measurement elements.

The method requires students to complete each task until the instructor approves it in order to move on to the next (constructive learning).

Sight-Size is a method that gives life to images with particular sensitivity, faithful to real life, which is particularly useful in depictions of portraits and figurative works.

The Comparative method

The Comparative method allows the student to draw, paint or sculpt an object or figure at any scale, with a more constructive and free perception than with the Sight-size method. It is the most common method among artists and it often requires measurement tools.

Thanks to the combination of both methods, the student will learn to be more analytical with what he/she observes and develop his/her perception to draw, paint or sculpt any object or figure in a more free and organic way.

The Approaches: Constructive, Light and Form, Visual Impression

Regardless of the method used to observe, there are different approaches that the student must learn to use, mix and prioritize depending on which stage they are in the creation process of the artwork.

A constructive approach is necessary for the internal architecture of what is represented. It helps create a solid structure and volume within the space. The light and form approach focuses on the correct modeling of form together with the correct representation of the incision of light on the subject. It also facilitates a polished finish look. Finally, an impressionist approach helps to understand how to obtain a strong visual impact, for example through chiaroscuro and the relation between colors, values, and form.

In relation to the different methods, the Sight-Size method is ideal when looking to represent the visual impression of what we see. The Comparative method is optimal when it comes to the relations of proportion and shape, for a better understanding of the anatomy in order to correctly represent the subject in space.