While the historical origins of the modern-day application of sight-size, is the subject of debate, it was taught by American realist artists R. H. Ives Gammell and Richard Lack in the mid-twentieth century in Boston, Massachusetts. From there it spread from the United States to Florence, Italy in the late 20th century by American instructors who had learned the approach back home. Despite it’s current centering around Florence, Italy (Florence Academy of Art, Charles Cecil Atelier, Angel Academy of Art) the approach is not traditional Italian drawing as is sometimes assumed.
While many other academic approaches stress optical accuracy and a high tonal finish, sight-size includes a specific set-up in which the subject matter and easel are placed in a special configuration wherein all observations are made in one-to-one scale.
Many academic realistic approaches use what is referred to as the comparative measurement approach (see our courses with Juliette Aristides and Hollis Dunlap) which differ from sight-size in set-up and process. The Russian academic approach taught in our course with Iliya Mirochnik does not include a sight size set-up and is more concerned with 3d planes and form than light and shadow patterns associated with this approach.
As is often the case, artists can combine different approaches. Sight-size deals mainly with making accurate 2D measurements from flat images or from life but it can be combined with other drawing approaches, especially at the rendering stage.
Top schools teaching this approach include the Florence Academy of Art, Angel Academy of Art, Charles C. Cecil atelier. There are also many smaller ateliers around the world especially in the United States now teaching this approach.
Yes! This course will give you all of the information you need to set up for sight-size in your home studio. Because the approach relies on self-correction, you can follow the course, doing each assignment and project, increasing your skill as you go.
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