Winter Lecture Series: Mannerist Artists

 Francesco Salviati

The focus of this winter’s lecture series is on the generation of Mannerist artists working in Italy during the time of Michelangelo.   In these weekly, illustrated talks, director Jeffrey Mims presents a group of majestically creative painters – famous in their own time, but less well known today.   Beginning with artists such as Andrea del Sarto, Daniele da Volterra, and Francesco Salviati,  each lecture includes drawings and paintings of  the individual artist,  with biographical anecdotes and historical comparisons to better appreciate this distinctive period of art.

Example of Cangiante drapery by Del Sarto

An offshoot to this study of Mannerist artists was a look at one of the distinguishing characteristics used by many of these Italian artists, “cangiantismo”.   Used primarily in the painting of drapery,  the “cangiante” effect is a system of changing color  tones in the shift from dark to light, imitating the effect of iridescence, or shot silk and often used during this period in fresco decoration.
Published in: on February 6, 2008 at 12:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Art of Boston


Recently, students from Mims Studios traveled to Boston for a three-day study tour of some of the greatest artistic traditions this country has produced.  In preparation for this trip, our weekly lecture series this fall was focused on the Boston Painters.  

The Blue Cup by Joseph DeCamp

Beginning with John Singleton Copley, and moving through history to the founders of the Guild of Boston Artists, these lectures link the History of the Academy series with the artists of our own country and created the perfect conclusion to our spring trip to Paris.


The trip was not without a close look at ornament throughout the city, ranging from the classical moldings of the Boston Public Library, to the Romanesque and Venetian details at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum.


Frank Strazzulla leads Mims Studios students through Boston Public Library

Mims Studios students study Sargent’s murals

Mims Studios Students with Jeffrey Mims and Frank Strazzulla at the MFA


Frank Strazzulla with Students under the Sargent Murals at the MFA

Students were joined by painter Frank Strazzulla, Jr. who was kind enough to host our group at his solo exhibition at the Boston Guild, the first of many stops.  He and Jeffrey Mims led a joint tour through the Boston Public Library and several museums, with a focus on the Boston Artists and their influences.  

detail of MIT Murals by Edwin Howland Blashfield

detail of MIT Murals by Edwin Howland Blashfield

detail of MIT Murals by Edwin Howland Blashfield

Among the many highlights from this trip was an informative comparison of the Sargent and Puvis de Chavannes murals with those in the Walker Memorial Building at MIT by Edwin H. Blashfield.  Designed on the unusual theme of Alma Mater, these works demonstrate an almost unparalleled mastery and brevity of touch executed by Blashfield when he was well into his nineties, and bear witness to an artistic reputation ripe for a revival.

Published in: on October 28, 2007 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Weekly Lectures – Perspective


Perspective, one of the great but often overlooked sciences behind so much of the world’s finest art has now been added to the Tuesday lecture schedule.  This series will introduce the vocabulary and fundamentals of perspective, and lead into illustrated presentations of their practical applications in masterworks from the history of art, as well as a few surprising ways to use this way of thinking in drawing from nature.

Published in: on September 13, 2007 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Anatomy from the Life Model


Combining the study of Anatomy with evening life drawing, students overlay skeletal and muscle constructions onto copies of their own figure drawings.  The skeleton is often posed beside the figure model during drawing sessions. 

Below are examples from a recent lecture.

Overlay of Skeleton and Muscles onto Student Life Drawing 

Overlay of Muscles onto Student Life Drawing

Published in: on August 6, 2007 at 11:02 am  Comments (4)  

Weekly Lecture – Anatomy of Hands

by Allesandro Allori

This week, lectures on Artistic Anatomy continue with a focus on the Anatomy of Hands.  As well as looking at the construction of the hand, examples from the history of art will emphasize the importance of balancing “what you see” with “what you know,” and comparisons will be made between old masters and contemporary artists. 

Published in: on July 23, 2007 at 9:39 pm  Comments (1)  

Weekly Lectures – Artistic Anatomy

Anatomy Plate, detail from Parthenon metope, Carracci drawing, Prud’hon drawing 

This week’s illustrated lecture begins the series on Artistic Anatomy.  Using constructive perceptions of drawing the human figure, these lectures are delivered through a combination of part slide show, part demonstration.  The goal is to inform what we see with what we know, using examples from different periods in the history of art to illustrate specific concepts.

This year’s presentation has been developed to co-ordinate weekly anatomical lessons with the actual model’s pose from evening figure drawing sessions.   


Published in: on May 18, 2007 at 3:07 pm  Comments (2)  

Website Update: Illustrated Lecture Archives


Each Tuesday, illustrated lectures are given by director D. Jeffrey Mims in the main cast studio.  An updated list of past lectures is now online:

The History of the Academy
The History of Ornament

The conclusion to these lectures was a trip to Paris this spring.  Images from this trip are now online here.

Published in: on April 24, 2007 at 11:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Weekly Lecture – The Apollo Gallery


This week’s lecture was a film about the restoration of the Apollo Gallery (or Galerie d’Apollon)  in the Louvre – designed by Charles LeBrun for Louis the XIV, and finished in the 19th century with Delacroix‘s ceiling painting The Triumph of Apollo (below). 


The Apollo Gallery will be the subject of several following lectures – including the decorative painting and sculpture, the tapestries, and a look at this gallery in relation to the history of ceiling painting.  The second half of the film will be shown next week.

Published in: on April 11, 2007 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment