Thomas More Expands Way of Beauty Program, Adds Naturalistic Drawing

by Thomas More College on January 5, 2011


Portrait by Paul Ingbretson

The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts’ announced today that it is partnering with the renowned Ingbretson Studio to expand the Way of Beauty Program to include a series of weekly classes in the academic method of naturalistic drawing, which has its roots in the baroque and the High Renaissance, including the known methods of Leonardo da Vinci. This is a significant addition to its college courses and summer programs in sacred art.

This new initiative directly challenges modern art theories and seeks to renew in aspiring artists an appreciation for Catholic principles in sacred and secular art.

“Modern art schools teach that art is to be created for art’s sake, and that inspiration is a feeling or emotional reaction,” said David Clayton, artist-in-residence at Thomas More College and Director of the Way of Beauty Program. “What we are teaching aligns fully with the Catholic tradition. Both sacred and secular art should lift our soul to God. It is the good made visible.”

“Beautiful art is about conforming to the requirements of another,” said Clayton. “Painting within an artistic tradition begins with disciplined imitation that develops humility in the pupil and an openness to external inspiration. Artists must look beyond themselves, and follow in the footsteps of the Great Masters in creating art for a good and noble purpose. This is precisely what we hope to accomplish through our partnership with Paul Ingbretson.”

Students participating in the program will spend one day each week at Ingbretson Studio in Manchester, NH—a fifteen minute drive from Thomas More College’s campus. In addition to the practical method, they will study the philosophy behind academic drawing and painting.

Paul Ingbretson is himself a modern master of the Boston School Tradition, which seeks to combine the truth of impressionist color with good draughtsmanship, sound composition, and skillful paint handling. His studio is known internationally and has trained some of the best known artists painting today, including Catholic portrait painter, Henry Wingate, who teaches at the Way of Beauty Atelier summer program.

Ingbretson was taught in Boston in the 1970s by R. Ives Gammell, the teacher, writer, and painter who almost single-handedly kept alive the traditional atelier method of painting instruction.

Through Gammel, Ingbretson can trace a line through the Boston School, to the Paris ateliers of the 19th century, and to the 17th century baroque. His students tread a path taken by such masters as the great American artist John Singer Sargent and the Spanish 17th Master, Velazquez.

Clayton noted that the Program’s partnership with Ingbretson Studios helps the College achieve one of the primary objectives of the Way of Beauty Program—to form a new generation of professional artists that produce art that lifts the soul to God.

“For young people who aspire to be an artist, there is no better place to be than Thomas More College,” said Clayton. “It is imperative that aspiring Catholic artists obtain a firm understanding of the Western tradition, which Thomas More College provides through its curriculum. It is further imperative that aspiring Catholic artists receive firm spiritual formation from which they can derive inspiration, which is abundant at this institution.”

“During their four years here,” he added, “students will attend a series of courses in Catholic art and architecture; experience art first-hand during our semester in Rome; produce an icon of their own through our St. Luke Sacred Art Guild, assist me in producing sacred art for our chapel; and further hone their skills through opportunities like the one now available through Ingbretson Studios.”

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