Creating an Elegant Still Life with Daniela Astone
Florence Academy of Art Series
DVD LENGTH: 2 Hours, 39 Minutes
A Chance to Study the Techniques of Past Generations
Two decades ago, if you wanted to study the techniques of the Old
Masters, you'd have found it almost impossible. Very few places
existed that had documented and preserved their techniques, which
had been passed from generation to generation but then were almost
lost as the world became obsessed with modernism and abstract art.
"Just express yourself, do your own thing," was the mantra of the
times. Those who wanted to study the figure and learn to paint like
the Old Masters were told that the style was no longer valid, that
they could never make a living.
Historically, the great artists understood the critical importance
of training the next masters to carry on the traditions of those
who came before them. Master painters would teach one or two
primary students not only everything they had learned on their own,
but what had been passed down from the masters' own mentors. Six
hundred years of knowledge preserved, along with generations of
master painters' improvements on the techniques they had learned.
In Florence, a thin thread connecting to the past existed -- one
that would carry ancient techniques forward to today. A lineage
from the great masters, handed down one generation at a time, that
has landed on the shoulders of a few men and women today. For 25
years, students at the Florence Academy have studied techniques as
passed down from Signora Nerina Simi, daughter of Filadelfo Simi,
who was a student of Gerome.
One can trace this lineage back several hundred years, and it was
Signora Simi who hand-picked a few exceptional students to carry it
forward. One of those fortunate enough to carry the responsibility
for maintaining those techniques was Daniel Graves, an American who
studied in Florence and who founded the Florence Academy, now one
of the most renowned art institutions in the world.
Like those before him, Graves has trained and selected a few from a
younger generation to carry these techniques forward. One of those
people is a young Italian woman, Daniela Astone.
Though Daniela Astone started her art education on a typical track,
her passion eventually landed her acceptance into the Florence
Academy. She went through the entire program, but, unlike those who
graduated and moved on, she wanted to carry that program on to
future generations. So she was trained personally by the
instructors at the school, including Daniel Graves.
Today, Daniela Astone plays a major role in training students at
the Florence Academy. In 2013, she won the BP Portrait Award, and
her self-portrait now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in
Last year, while filming Daniel Graves in Florence, we fell in love
with Astone's incredible ability to create elegant still life
paintings. We immediately made special arrangements to film her
technique as well.
And now we're proud to announce our latest video in the Florence
Academy of Art Series, Elegant Still Life with Daniela Astone. In
this video Daniela outlines her complete, start-to-finish technique
for creating a still life, including:
- The right color palette
- The step-by-step process of creating a composition
- How to arrange a still life
- Creating a pleasing composition
- Premixing colors
- Building the layers of a painting
- Making shadows feel realistic