JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Drawing - Rome Sketchbook"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Summer Session II 2020

INSTRUCTOR: Roberto Caracciolo
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: Remote Learning
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

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 Euro over the session.
3. The core activity is drawing directly from observation. You will not 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 footware, no bare shoulders and no very short skirts allowed in churches, hats and sunscreen.
8. 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 or spiral bound (not glued) notebook not less than 24 x 34 cm. If wanted also a smaller notebook of 12 x 24 cm. The drawing instruments are preferably a variety of pencils, or soft, dark graphite, but other tools are welcome too. You will need erasers and a pencil sharpener. Ink, pens and brushes are fine, but optional. Soft charcoal or pastel are not recommended, 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, and the other on Via Pie’ di Marmo, near the Pantheon and the third on Via Ripetta 23). Drawing supplies are also commonly found in stationary stores (cartolerie); Moleskin books, which are useful for smaller sketchbooks, can be found within the Feltrinelli bookstores.

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 termAssignment Guidelines Weight Completed sketchbook of drawings done over the term Grading is based on a judgment of the contents of the sketchbook created over the semester. Quantity of work produced is of great importance as is improvement. Producing a large body of work by itself is a guarantee of progress. Commitment, range of experimentation, resourcefulness, inventiveness, expressiveness, acuity of observation, concision, complexity, spatial clarity, and other aspects of technical skill and artistic quality are also considered. 100 100

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.
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.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
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 day by day, but stay alert for changes:   


A. (Tuesday July 7) Meet on TEAMS or ZOOM. Introduction to the course. Two PPTs: one on “Examples of Sketches” and another on “Intro to materials, to composition, to opposed languages of drawing: line vs. tonal value”.

Assignment: Set up a still life with at least four objects. 5 drawings by Thursday the 9th (keeping the composition central in respect to the page).

B. (Thursday July 9) One-on-one TEAMS or ZOOM meetings. 20 minutes each to discuss the first 5 drawings that are an indication of a starting point.

Assignment: Set up a small still life, possibly including a book or another geometric form, and draw from different points of view (10 drawings of which the first 5 fast and the second 5 slower). Assignment are due by Sunday the 12th.


A. (Tuesday July 14) Meet on TEAMS or ZOOM. PPTs on “Perspective” and on “Perspective in the Past”. Link to Rome views.

Assignment 2nd week: Solving problems of perspective, 2 drawings of still-lives (that must include rectangular objects such as books), 2 drawings of an interior, 5 cityscapes (two of which should be vast views paying particular attention to atmospheric perspective).

B. (Thurs. July 16) One-on-one TEAMS or ZOOM meetings. 20 minutes each to discuss the first 15 drawings that were the assignment of week 1.


A. (Tues. July 21)  Meet on TEAMS or on ZOOM. The theme of the week is line variation and line quality. PPT on “Ïtalian Drawing in the Renaissance”.

Assignment: 4 copies from the past, 6 drawings from museum links )Including the Raphael exhibition and a PPT on his work as an homage for the 5th hundred anniversary of Raphael’s death). .

B. (Thurs. July 23) One-on-one TEAMS or ZOOM meetings. 20 minutes each to discuss the 9 drawings that were done as assignments on week 2.


A. (Tues. July 28) Meet on TEAMS or on ZOOM. This week will be dedicated to light and shadow as seen through the Baraque. PPTs on techniques for light and shadow and “The Baroque in Rome: art and architecture”.

Assignment: 10 drawings from the PPT or from links (For example The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa by Bernini or/and San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane by Borromini).

B. (Thurs. July 30) One-on-one TEAMS or ZOOM meetings. 20 minutes each to discuss the 10 drawings from week 3.


A. (Tues. August 4) Meet on TEAMS or on ZOOM. PPT “In and Through Rome”, a view of how artists of the past studied or were inspired by Rome.

Assignment: A conclusive drawing that puts together composition, perspective, line variation and light and shadow. Create a PPT with all works done.

B. (Thurs. August 6) Final one-on-one meeting on TEAMS or ZOOM.