The Angel Academy’s New Studio
2012 saw the Angel Academy of Art in a beautiful new studio on via Nardo di Cione in the bustling Piazza Beccaria area. No more running across the bridge between classes!!
Michael John Angel at the Palazzo Tornabuoni
On Oct. 30th, Michael John Angel—ARC Living Master and Director of Studies at the Angel Academy of Art, Florence—gave a lecture at the historic Tornabuoni Palace in Florence. The lecture’s title was Annigoni and the Training of the 21st-century Realist Painter. Mr Angel studied under Annigoni in the 1960s.
Born in Milan, Pietro Annigoni (1910–88) moved with his family to Florence when he was a teenager and lived there for the rest of his life. He studied art at the Accademia di Belle Arti and soon became known locally, but it was only after painting his first portrait of Queen Elizabeth II of England in 1956 that he became the most famous portrait painter in Europe. Bernard Berenson (the art historian, known as the infallible Bernard Berenson) called Annigoni the greatest painter of the 20th century. Annigoni’s frescoes and allegorical egg-tempera paintings are less well known than his portraits, but they are equal to or surpass anything painted in the Florentine Renaissance.
In his lecture, Mr Angel stressed that the training of an artist in this newly renascent Realism is arduous. At the Angel Academy of Art, Florence, the basic programme is a three-year one, and this is followed by one of two post-graduate options, each of a two-year duration: Pictorial Composition and Portrait Painting. Even three years is an expensive undertaking, and one of the main thrusts of the lecture and presentation was to garner financial support for needy students. In the old days, Angel said, an apprenticeship in painting lasted at least seven years. More such presentations are being planned.
The student work that was shown in the lecture and displayed on the easels was beautiful. The works on display were by Jered Woznicki, Megan Byrne, Nicole Lalande, Bruno Galuzzi Corsini, Brianne Kirbyson, Giulia Bucciarelli, Chapman John Hamborg, Marilyn Bailey , Lucia Foresi, Jonathan Scull, Evanny Henningsen, Katie Runyu Li and Michael John Angel.
A feature of the presentation was Angel’s larger-than-life-size portrait of the British entrepreneur David Aspin, which was mentioned in a recent article on Mr Aspin in the Financial Times.