Historic Art Demonstrations

When we speak of the perfection of art, we must recollect what the materials are with which a painter contends with nature. For the light of the sun he has but patent yellow and white lead - for the darkest shade, umber or soot.

John Constable, English painter, 1776-1837

The job of an artist has never been an easy one, but it used to be a lot harder. Before the art store with paint in tubes, rows of brushes and pads of paper, an artist had to make everything he or she needed themselves. Paint had to be ground and blended on a daily basis; brushes had to be made; canvases prepared. An artist had to be aware of geography, chemistry, natural history and even diplomacy, let alone posess a good eye and a modicum of talent. With any luck they would be able to take on an apprentice or two to help take care of some of the daily chores.

Using our interest in history, costumes and props as well as our knowledge of oil painting history and techniques, we have created a hands on demonstration recreating the life of an artist from the Renaissance and the time of the great masters in painting through to the 1830's and the rise of American Art . We let participants see what it was like to be an apprentice to an artist and try themselves the jobs that had to be done, from the grinding of paints, making of brushes and the use of the camera obscura.

Our demonstration helps to draw links between Art, Science and Craft. Concepts of chemistry, physics and geography are shown to be as important to the artist as a talent for drawing.

We are located in St. Paul, Minnesota and are available for schools or groups in the Midwest area. Please contact us for more information concerning rates and scheduling.

See pictures of our historic art demonstration!

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