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About us

In 2009 a two-years art programme was started in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), which received official CRKBO recognition in 2011. From 2009 until 2014 the programme was called Opleiding Oude Schildertechnieken (School for old Painting Techniques) which was changed  to Academie voor Kunst en Ambacht (Arts & Crafts Academy) in June 2014. In the first four years, our students realized four large fresco murals in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which were implanted in the Hironimus Bosch memorial programme of that city. In 2014  the Academy was moved to Utrecht and Nijmegen where two different branches were started, but by 2016 it was decided to one branch only.  The Academy was moved to an open-air museum in the pretty hills and forests near Nijmegen. This museum is called Museumpark Orientalis, a culture park of the three monotheistic world religions. During the two years of cooperation with the museum, our students and teachers painted a dozen murals in different styles and techniques within the grounds.

Since the foundation of the  programme, we have realized eight graduation exhibitions in different locations across the Netherlands. To date, almost a hundred artists have graduated from the school, and a lot of alumni still meet up to share knowledge and painting experiences. We have also organized exhibitions on the phenomena of slow painting in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (2009)  and Amsterdam (2013).

In the near future we plan to cooperate closely  with the finest European art schools. In June 2019 an International Fresco Meeting will be organized in Nijmegen in cooperation with the Scuola Internazionale dell’ Affresco (Feltre, Italy) and the Academy of Music, Dance, Theatre and fine Arts of Chisinau (Moldavia). It is expected that this meeting there will yield an exchange of students and teachers between the three aforementioned art institutes in the following years. The longer-term objective is to form a craftsmanship platform for European traditional art schools.

Our Ideology

The idea behind our Arts & Crafts Academy is rooted in the Arts & Crafts movement in 19th century England. This movement wanted to give art a place in society and to reverse the artistic ideal of the cult of the Genius and Ego. In an industrialized and -automated society it is natural for people to revalue craft and handmade objects. Another, more recent, influence is the willingness to acquit painting from its industrial and polluting character, by using only natural and sustainable materials. In analogy with the slow food movement we have coined the term slow painting because of a shared distrust in off-the-shelf products (e.g. tube paint). By making his own paint the artist is again in charge by changing from a passive paint consumer to an active paint producer. It allows him to experiment and intervene freely in every part of the painting process. By regaining his autonomy, the artist will automatically become more aware of the optical qualities and  -characteristics of the painting materials.

Our ideology might be considered as a way back to the origin of painting. Originally pupils learned the difficult craft from masters, by following the rivers of tradition. The source of painting can be found in the history of art: in the old and incomplete  formulas; in the prescriptions such as those from Cennini, Vitruvius and Rubens; in the dark manuscripts on illumination and gilding. Apart from nostalgia those sources can be of practical use. Our main methodology is, however, always based on empirical investigation into materials, techniques, agents, binders, and combinations. Large scale  experimentation is required to find new ways and new possibilities, necessary to update knowledge and skills continuously.

Painting needs to regain a place in the middle of society. In our opinion painters are craftsmen who work preferably for commissioners and sponsors. Applied arts, such as murals in and on public buildings, are mostly made by groups of painters. In such groups the will to cooperate needs to be stronger than individual expression, which should always be subordinate to the total artwork. All personality should, in a manner of speaking, be consumed by the success of the final work . The artwork should transcends  the maker. We do not want to educate individualistic ego’s, but we like foster a cooperative form of education, focused on the overall-discipline of the craft whilst promoting a modest personal attitude.

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