The brief history is that Juan Martinez studied academic realism under the guidance of Michael John Angel and now uses a similar system to that which he learned. The longer history is that, just as his teacher before him did, Juan has made adjustments and modifications to the process, according to his own experiences teaching for the past 20+ years. Mr. Angel, himself, devised a program out of his own understanding as derived from personal experience with students, no doubt from his teacher, Pietro Annigoni, as well as from interactions over the years with his contemporary academic painters.

Those latter artists, for their part, arose largely out of the American academic tradition of the Boston School of R.H. Ives Gammell. Naturally, any such program becomes changed and adapted according to the experiences of the teachers as they might interact with students and practice the craft over the years. This is natural.

Still, the overall atelier process — that of moving the students’ attention from drawing to painting, from “the Flat” to “the Round” and to fully focussing on working from “the Life” whether still life or figurative, remains a keystone of any sound academic system.

As an aside, it is valuable to note that both Pietro Annigoni, the great mid-20th-century painter (one of the greatest) and R.H. Ives Gammell (one of the most important figures in the preservation of the realist tradition in America) had direct connections to the 19th century Paris atelier system. Gammell’s teacher was William Paxton, another Boston painter, and he, like so many ex-pat Americans, studied with the renowned French painter and educator, Jean-Léon GérômeMtre Gérôme was considered one of the finest teachers of the 19th century and the long line of students from around the world are a testament to that fact. On Annigoni’s side, one of his mentors in Florence, Italy, was Filadelfo Simi, who also was a student of the French academy under Gérôme. Annigoni was influenced greatly by the Renaissance art he grew up with all around him in Florence. And, philosophically and aesthetically, Annigoni was also influenced by Benedetto Croce, an important early 20th-century philosopher and thinker. In these ways, Annigoni had roots that were firmly planted in the deepest traditions of art and aesthetic thought, and thus serves well as a paragon figure in artistic development.

Moving to more recent times, Juan Martinez taught at Toronto’s well-known Academy of Realist Art for more than 15 years. Prior to that, however, he had been teaching and lecturing on many subjects throughout most of his life, including subjects such as diverse as biology and law, and a number of sports and activities including martial arts. In short, Juan has been a life-long teacher and it was through this continuous practice and learning that he has developed his own pedagogy of, and approach to, traditional academic art training. For his training system, Juan uses the term “The Modern Fundamentals” which refers to the obvious fact that we are all in the present, we are here now, today. But, we also will add the word “Traditional” to the system, to indicate we are recognizing the achievements of the past (the “Giants”)  and how the lore, knowledge, and the accumulated wisdom of the ages, still apply and are being built upon in today’s Atelier. 

Thus, it is the Modern Fundamentals of Traditional Drawing & Painting that you will undertake by studying at Thothstudio Online Atelier.

Finally, a note on the name “ThothStudio”. Thoth was an Egyptian deity, known as Hermes in the later Greek tradition (which they had learned from the Egyptians). Thoth was considered the progenitor of the arts and of philosophy, proper. He is often considered a kind of “patron saint” for artists, writers, etc.. In fact, you might say that it was Prometheus who made us Human, but it was Hermes (Thoth) who made us Artists! So we’ll go with that…