Every day the students have a different teacher approach each workspace and offer individual feedback on the exercise in question. This is what we call a critique, which is always focused on ensuring that the student is assimilating the concepts to work on each stage of their learning to correct, modify or optimise all points that the tutor has suggested.
At the end of each term, the students receive a final individual and personalised critique at which all of their teachers are present. It evaluates five general areas: attendance, performance, effort, attitude and progress. From these, a final average mark is awarded.
At the Barcelona Academy of Art each course is made up of a syllabus or list of pre-set exercises that the student must complete. The methodology is that each student works on the exercises at his or her own pace and steadily progresses through the course programme, increasing the difficulty of the exercises each time.
What is the Atelier System?
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.
The tasks to be carried out by the students are assigned through the constructive method, i.e. each exercise must be completely finished and the student must demonstrate mastery of all the aspects learned during the exercise before moving on to the higher level.
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
The Barcelona Academy of Art uses, in some of the classes,
the natural observation method called Sight-Size.
Sight-Size is a teaching method based on achieving 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.