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COURSE NAME: "Drawing - Rome Sketchbook"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Roberto Caracciolo
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TH 9:00-11:45 AM

This course makes use of the unparalleled resource that is the city of Rome itself; each class meets at a different site around the city. Students work in sketchbook form, creating over the course of the term a diary of visual encounters. Instruction, apart from brief discussions of the sites themselves, focuses on efficient visual note taking: the quick description of form, awareness of light and the development of volume in space. With practice and growing experience, students become capable of producing drawings governed by conscious intention.

Each class meets at a different site of historical and visual interest around Rome. Students make drawings from observation in their sketchbooks creating a record of their experiences and of the sites they are seeing. The beginning of each class meeting is dedicated to a brief discussion of the  site, and the presentation of an issue to be addressed in drawing. Some of the basic drawing issues addressed in specific lessons include: centering the subject on the page, the uses and the values of line, rendering form in light and dark, creating space and visual drama through various kinds of contrast, practical advice on perspective, specifying point of view, creating atmosphere, faces and figures from classical statuary and so on. 

Additional information:
1. The course involves working from direct observation. Working from photographs is not permitted.
2. The course may include visits involving an entry fee.  These visits are held to a minimum and should not cost you more than a total of 25 euros over the semester.
3. The core activity is drawing directly from observation. No student will be able to meet the requirements of the course without working many hours outside of class.
4. The class meets rain or shine.
5. The course is meant to be a framework allowing very free individual artistic choices. The lessons are meant to help students get started, but there is always room for creative alternatives.
6. Students must come to class on time because that is when the site is explained, and the day's drawing problem and other announcements are given. 
7. Students need to dress appropriately: proper footwear, no bare shoulders in churches, hats and sunscreen, warm clothing when the weather turns cold. Decorous behavior in public spaces.
8. No earbuds allowed during class time, as they diminish concentration and impede communication.
9. Be sure to plan your morning itinerary in order to arrive promptly at the site at 9:00. Be alert for announcements of changes to the preliminary schedule below.

Students buy their own art supplies. You need a bound (not spiral or glued) notebook not less than 24 x 34 cm. The drawing instruments are up to you, but most students use a variety of pencils, or soft, dark graphite. You need erasers and a pencil sharpener. Ink, pens and brushes are fine, but optional. I don’t recommend your using soft charcoal or pastel, as the image quickly degrades in the sketchbook, even when you use fixative.

There is no textbook. 

Art supply stores: Poggi (three locations, one in Trastevere on Via Merry del Val, just off Viale Trastevere, the other on Via Pie’ di Marmo, near the Pantheon and the third in Via Ripetta 24 not far from Piazza del Popolo); and Vertecchi, a chain with many branches, including one near Piazza di Spagna. Drawing supplies are commonly found in stationary stores (cartolerie); the Feltrinelli bookstores have Moleskin books which hold up well.
By the end of the course students should be more visually alert to their surroundings, capable of careful observation, familiar with significant sites in Rome, and capable of representing what they see in both quick sketches and longer studies. They will have acquired skill using various technical approaches to drawing and knowledge about some traditions in drawing and painting.

Completed sketchbook of drawings done over the termGrading is based on a judgment of the contents of the sketchbook created over the semester. Quantity of work produced is of great importance, since producing a large body of work by itself practically guarantees progress. Commitment, range of experimentation, resourcefulness, inventiveness, expressiveness, acuity of observation, concision, complexity, improvement, spatial clarity, and other aspects of technical skill and artistic quality are also considered.100

AWork of this quality shows excellent mastery of the course content along with exceptional levels of technical skill, artistic awareness, originality, resourcefulness, commitment, quantity of work and improvement. There has been excellent collaboration and leadership in group projects, and there have been no attendance problems. The student has the capacity to initiate and carry out artistic projects that communicate specific intentions.
BA highly competent level of performance with work that directly addresses the content of the course, with a good quantity of work produced.
CAn acceptable level of performance: the work shows awareness of the course content, but is very limited in quantity, quality, commitment and skill.
DThe student lacks a coherent grasp of the course material and has failed to produce much work.
FNegligent in attendance, academic honesty, engagement with the course content, or production of work.

Attendance is required this being a very hands-on course where the dialogue between student and instructor is at the base of all possible progress made. Each unjustified absence erode the grade, three late arrivals equal an absence. More than four unjustified absences are reason enough to fail the course.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


PROVISIONAL SCHEDULE by week, but stay alert for changes:   

1. Sept 5th. Introduction. Meet (this time only) at JCU Art Studio, Largo dei Fiorentini, 1. Lesson: two opposed languages of drawing, line vs. tonal value. Discussion of materials.

2. Sept 12th. Meet at the Campidoglio (the piazza of the Capitoline Hill, up the big stairs to the south of P.za Venezia). Entry fee if bad weather. Lesson: view-finding, thumbnail sketches. Assignment 1: Ten fast sketches.

3. Sept 19th. Orto Botanico; meet at Guarini entry, and we walk from there. Entry fee 6 euros. "Scribble drawings"; observation of nature. Contrasting description against suggestion. Assignment 2: Fast sketches from nature

4. Sept 26th. Meet at Guarini entry, and we walk from there to Tiber Island. Problems in cityscape, landscape, riverscape, water, atmosphere.  

Assignment 3: Slower drawing from nature.

5. Oct 3rd. Meet at Santa Sabina on the Aventino. (From school walk to the other side of the river at Tiber Island, then continue south past S. Maria in Cosmedin; after the main street leading to the Circo Massimo turn left up a little pathway called the Clivio di Rocca Savella leading from the river to the Aventine hill. Past the famous orange grove you will find the big parking lot of S. Sabina. Wait there.) No bare shoulders or shorts in this or other churches. Lesson devoted to solving problems of perspective. Assignment 4: Five sketches of perspectives.

6. Oct 10th. Meet at the entry to S. Peter's Square. Lesson involves depicting a large outdoor urban space.

Assignment 5: Drawing large spaces, such as Piazza Farnese or Piazza Navona.

7. Oct 17th. Meet at largo dei Fiorentini Art Studio for a group critique. We will then be drawing on the Castel Sant’Angelo bridge. Lesson regards light and dark: contrast.

Assignment 6: Five drawings from art or architecture with light and shadows, possibly with high contrast of light and dark (even a still life with a spotlight on it).

8. Oct 24th. Meet at Guarini entry; we will go up the Gianicolo to Bramante’s Tempietto at S. Pietro in Montorio. Drawing architecture, round forms in perspective, also views over the city.

Assignment : 4 Architectural drawings (respecting proportions).

9. Oct 31st. Meet at Piazza Mattei (the “Turtle Fountain”). Off Via Arenula, near Largo Argentina, take Via dei Falegnami. A series of figure drawing exercises.

Assignment 8: Three figures from the past.

10. Nov 7th. Meet at Trajan's Market. Past P.za Venezia, past Trajan's Column, and up the steps. Drawing lesson on clarifying point of view: looking up and looking down. Entry fee.

Assignment 9: Five Roman views (can one still find a way to be personal in a city that has been depicted so many times before?)

11. Nov 14th. Meet at Piazza del Campidoglio, we will be drawing within the Capitoline Museum looking at statues and reliefs from antiquity. I will inform you about the entrance fee. 

Assignment 10: Roman antiquity or art from the past.

12. Nov 21st. Meet by the fountain of the Triton in Piazza Barberini. We will be looking at the Baroque by seeing the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa by Bernini and the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane by Borromini. Drawing greater complexity.

Assignment 11: Slower drawings that include more information.

13. Nov 28th. Meet in front of the Guarini building. We will be drawing from baroque art in the Galleria Corsini.

Assignment 12: Everyday life in Rome.

14. Dec 5th. Final meeting at JCU Art Studio, Largo dei Fiorentini, 1. Group critique. Appointments made for individual meetings that take the place of a final exam.  

15. Date to be defined. Individual critiques.