1991 - ?

The Charles Cecil Studios was founded in 1991 to perpetuate the atelier tradition, a practice stemming from Renaissance Italy in which a master painter opens his studio to a select group of dedicated students. It occupies the most historic Florentine atelier still in active use, which is located near the medieval Porta San Frediano, the Chiesa di San Raffaello Archangelo was adapted as a studio complex by Lorenzo Bartolini in the early nineteenth century. The Florence atelier is run by American painter and art historian Charles H. Cecil (born 1945), a leading world figure in the tradition of Classical Realist art having taught and influenced a generation of student artists from his atelier in Florence where he has lived since 1978. It offers training in classical techniques of drawing and oil painting and the curriculum stems directly from the leading ateliers of nineteenth-century Paris. Fundamental to the teaching is the practice of drawing and painting from life, another important practice is the sight-size technique whereby subject and image are depicted to scale as seen from a given distance. The studio accepts only a limited number of pupils each year and Cecil supervises the progress of their work, assisted by advanced students and colleagues who return at regular intervals. The work of his students trained in this method have consistently been recognised in such international competitions as the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibitions.