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COURSE NAME: "Drawing - Rome Sketchbook"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Roberto Caracciolo
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TH 9:00 AM 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 will be dedicated to a discussion of the work done during the week in the sketchbooks and to a brief presentation of the following week’s assignment, with an indication of particular issues to address while drawing. The rest of the time will be used to build upon the sketches, by changing scale and technique. Attention will be paid to developing a variety of skills: 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 points of view, creating atmosphere, faces and figures from classical statuary and so on. 


Each assignment will be about a specific site of historical and visual interest around Rome. Students will make drawings from observation in their sketchbooks creating a record of their experiences and of the places they are seeing.

Additional information:
1. The course involves working from direct observation.

2. The course may include visits involving an entry fee (this will depend upon regulations).  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 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.
5. 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. 
6. On assignments, students need to dress appropriately: proper footwear, no bare shoulders in churches, warm clothing when the weather turns cold. Decorous behavior in public spaces.
9. If regulations change and we are able to meet on site, 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.

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 and on the work done at the studio. 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.
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 by week, but stay alert for changes:

1. (Thursday Jan. 21) Meet at JCU Art Studio, Largo dei Fiorentini, Introduction to the course and discussion on materials needed. PPT on “Sketchbook Materials”. Introduction to two opposed languages of drawing, line vs. tonal value and to composition.
Assignment 1: 10 fast line drawings from statues. Either on the bridge of Castel Sant’Angelo or in any of the churches in Rome (Santa Maria del Popolo, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, San Pietro in Vincoli, etc.). Online option PPT “Roman Sculptures”. http://www.centralemontemartini.org/it/collezioni/tutte_le_opere



2. (Th. Jan. 28) Meet at JCU Studio. PPT on “Notes, Sketches and Drawings”. More drawing in the sketchbook from the PPT on “Roman Sculptures” or from museum links. Intro to second assignment: composition (static versus dynamic), with PPT “Notes on Composition”.

Assignment 2: Piazza del Campidoglio, at the top of the Capitoline hill, or from the PPT “Roman Architecture”, fifteen to eighteen thumbnail sketches in the Piazza or overlooking the Forum.

3. (Th. Feb. 4) Meet at JCU Studio. Drawings from PPT “Roman Architecture”. Introduction to perspective with PPT “Pespective”.

Assignment 3: 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; then turn left on Via della Greca, stay on the right side of the street and continue on the right up Clivio dei Publicii. Past the famous orange grove, you will find the big parking lot and the church of S. Sabina). No bare shoulders or shorts in this or other churches. Five sketches of perspectives (with both one and two vanishings point). If online five more drawings from PPT “Roman Architecture”.

4. (Th. Feb. 11) Meet at JCU Studio. PPT on “In and Through Rome”. More drawings from PPT “Roman Architecture”, with special attention to perspective.

Assignment 4: Colosseum. Four views of the Colosseum or of the Arch of Constantine. Select a portion, as though zooming in on a part, without trying to draw the whole monument (in case of rain go to one of medieval churches: San Clemente or Santo Stefano Rotondo). Otherwise if online continue working from the PPT “Roman Architecture”.


5. (Th. Feb. 18) Meet at JCU Studio. Expand on a larger format and possibly combine images from the sketchbook (taking photographs of sites and subjects chosen is always useful).

Assignment 5: St. Peter’s Square. From under or by the colonnade, two slower drawings towards the entrance to S. Peter's Church or across the square. The goal is to try to capture a large outdoor urban space. If online draw from the PPT “The Piazzas of Rome”.

6. (Th. Feb. 25) Meet at JCU Studio. Continue work on larger drawing(s).

Assignment 6: From the Guarini building walk up the Gianicolo hill on Via Garibaldi to the Fontanone dell’Acqua Paola. Two drawings of the city as seen from above. If online continue with PPT “The Piazzas of Rome”.


7. (Th. Mar. 4) Meet at JCU Studio. Larger drawing of Rome seen from above (possibly using maps and collage). PPT on “Notes on Light and Shadow”.

Assignment 7: From the Tiber building walk down the Lungotevere until you are in front of the Tiber Island (there are stairs that lead down to the water’s edge). Four Roman views, with shadows, looking across the river, drawing one of the bridges, capturing the reflection in the Tiber. If online work from PPT “The Tiber”.

8. (Th. Mar. 18) Meet at JCU Studio. Larger drawing(s) with ink and washes of Roman views.

Assignment 8: Baroque sculpture. One or two slow drawings with the full range of shadows. Either the Ecstasy of St Theresa by Bernini in the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria (Via Venti Settembre 17) or Beata Ludovica Albertoni by Bernini in the Church of San Francesco a Ripa (in the Piazza by the same name in Trastevere). If online work from the uploaded PPT “Baroque Sculptures”.


9. (Th. Mar. 25) Meet at JCU Studio. Three-dimensional wire structures/sculptures from sketches of Baroque sculptures.

Assignment 9: Baroque architecture. The church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane by Borromini (Via del Quirinale 23). Three drawings of greater complexity with shadows included. If online PPT “Baroque Architecture”.

10. (Th. April 1) Meet at JCU Studio. More three-dimensional collage work on the Baroque.

Assignment 10: The Baroque fountains. Four drawings of: The Fountain of the Turtles in Piazza Mattei (off of via Arenula, at the height of Piazza Cairoli) and/or the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini in the middle of Piazza Navona or the Fountain of the Triton in Piazza Barberini. If online work from the PPT “The Fountains of Rome”.


11. (Th. April 8) Meet at JCU Studio. PPT on “Watercolor and the use of color”. Complete works on the theme of Baroque and multiplicity.

Assignment 11: City life. Four drawings, possibly with color. Try drawing spaces and places that give a sense of Roman life (for example piazzas with cafes with outdoor tables, lively street scenes, etc.). If online look on internet.


12. (Th. April 15) Meet at JCU Studio. Inventing color from black and white sketches.

Assignment 12: The markets in Rome (only open in the mornings). Mercato di Testaccio in Piazza Orazio Giustiniani, in the Testaccio neighborhood (you can take bus 23 or 30 on the Lungotevere, near school by Ponte Sisto. Get off at the last stop on Via Marmorata and then walk from there). Otherwise the Market of Piazza San Cosimato in Trastevere or Campo dei Fiori in the center of old Rome. Four drawings of multiplicity and abundance (suggesting more than describing). Possibly with some color. If online draw from the PPT “Roman Markets”.


13. (Th. April 22) Meet at JCU Studio. More color drawings inspired by market scenes.

Assignment 13: Orto Botanico. In Largo Cristina da Svezia, just a few dozen yards away from the entrance of the Guarini building (entry fee 6 euro). Five drawings of nature: the first two zooming into a detail; the three remaining with larger views. If online work from “Roman Parks”.


14. (Th. April 29) 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.



On April … we will hold a student art exhibition.