Modern Classical Painting
Despite the passing of time and constant technological advances that change the ways art is produced, classical masterpieces remain as captivating as ever. They are, even in the modern day and age, an ultimate source of inspiration to succeeding generations of artists, both traditional and digital.
These old paintings possess a set of unique qualities which, even though they’re hard to nail, make them stand out still among modern artwork.
And so, one might ask the questions: What’s the essence of this style? What is it that makes a ‘classical’ painting?
And how can this be achieved?
In contrast to modern realism, classical stylisation goes far beyond technicalities. Its secret is not to rely on the brushes used, but instead to focus on the recognition and correct implementation of all the key elements that form the ‘soul’ of old masters’ paintings – the subject and colour choice, composition and understanding of anatomy.
Because most of the work is done inside the head on the level of planning the image, this workshop will be mainly theoretical. This time, I’ll concentrate not on how, but what to paint. I’ll share some hints and tips regarding the mentioned key elements throughout the whole process of composition and rendering. Where applicable, I’ll also describe the differences between modern and classical ways of depiction of certain elements, and I’m going to explain how to simulate traditional techniques with digital media.
As my study subject, I chose late 19th and early 20th Century paintings, especially those of Lord Frederick Leighton and William Bouguereau.

From issue 17.