Classical painting techniques Daniel Graves -
Master artist Daniel Graves shares painting techniques passed down over generations.

A Rare Glimpse Into 600 Years of Classical Painting Techniques (A note from Eric Rhoads, Publisher of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine)

Dear Artists,

For over 600 years, artists passed their techniques down to apprentices, who became masters, then passed those techniques to their own apprentices.

With each master painter, the information improved because of each one’s lifetime of learning.

But this came to a sudden stop.


Modernism arrived and took the world by storm!

Traditional painting was quickly shunned, pushed to the side, and declared irrelevant!

Thankfully, a small handful of very brave artists endured ridicule and unpopularity in a quest to keep these rare processes and techniques alive. One of those artists was Daniel Graves, founder of the Florence Academy of Art in Italy.

In fact, Daniel was one of the very few people who insisted on purity of technique to make certain his students understood every important detail.

Daniel Graves is a purist who refuses to compromise on quality for something more convenient. For instance, he does not use paint in tubes because he cannot get the color and effect from tube paint that he gets from grinding his own pigments.

Students from around the world flock to be accepted to his school to study drawing and to learn the techniques of the greatest of the great masters who passed these techniques forward. These students know that studying under people Daniel Graves has trained, and getting time under Graves himself, is a ticket to being known as one of the greats.

Graves insists that students learn core basic principles before they take on their own voices, and the quality standard for students who graduate from the Florence Academy is among the highest in the world. The school has produced numerous award-winning artists over the past 27 years.

Classical painting techniques Florence Academy -
Students painting at the Florence Academy in Florence, Italy

The Next Best Thing to Being at the Florence Academy

Because Graves is one of the great masters of our time, we wanted to preserve these time-honored techniques for artists who are unable to spend four or more years learning this process from the master himself. Only a fortunate few are accepted into the school or have the ability to drop everything, move to Florence, and study.

We felt that preserving these techniques on film, with Graves himself, was so important that we flew a crew to Florence to capture the full experience for our viewers so that you, too, can learn from this genius. In fact, I flew over to make sure everything was perfect. It’s that important.

In the video Daniel Graves takes us through all the steps of his painting process, starting with the proper way to prepare a canvas. This alone makes a significant difference in how the painting appears and how long it will last.

He then leads you through his methods for hand-grinding pigments and why this is critical to achieving the most brilliant colors.

And, after a little begging, we managed to get Daniel to do a segment on how to clean your own oil. This is a technique few artists understand, and one that will make your paintings last for hundreds of years without yellowing. This is of major importance, and the entire process has been documented on video for the first time since its inception 600 years ago. Graves claims that store-bought materials simply cannot match the quality of painting fluidity and the archival life of his cleaned oil.

Classical painting techniques art materials -
You can paint using ancient techniques with original materials.

The Entire Drawing and Painting Process Revealed

Of course we wanted to see a portrait crafted from start to finish. Starting with a live model, you’ll go through the creation of a sight-size drawing. This is the process most of the Old Masters used to get fast and easy likenesses in their subjects, and it turns out to be simpler than most other drawing methods. It’s good to know and understand it so you can get an exact likeness of your subject.

You’ll then experience sketching and blocking in the underpainting — the critical process of creating form with light and shadow. Then, of course, on to the finishing elements of the portrait.

This video was shot over many days, and you’ll see nearly every brushstroke as well as hear Daniel explain why he is painting in a certain manner.

In the end, you’ll have over 14 hours of priceless information that you’ll want to refer to again and again as you excel in your own painting journey.

And, in case you didn’t know, it’s rare for students to see this level and depth of painting instruction with the master himself at the school. So you’re getting a special privilege.

Sight size drawing techniques -
Learn the techniques of sight-size drawing to get a perfect likeness every time.

A Deeply Emotional Interview

You’ll also delight in a very special interview with Daniel (be prepared to tear up!). He truly is a remarkable man with an amazing passion for art. This is where you get to know the story of why he was driven to teach, start the school, and preserve these techniques.

A Moment Remembering a Mentor

While we were in Florence filming, there was a 25th-anniversary exhibition of the great master Pietro Annigoni’s work, and a magical moment happened when Daniel Graves, Michael John Angel, and Charles Cecil, three greats, were all together for the first time since they started out together as young students more than 25 years before. We caught this touching meeting on video for you. You’ll also see the special moments when we met with Mrs. Annigoni, and also with a woman who modeled for Annigoni at the age of 19. She is now in her late 70s — it was so beautiful to see this woman standing next to her portrait, and it’s all here for you.

Florence, Italy
Scenic Florence Italy, home of the Florence Academy

This Video Is So Important, We Are Now Rereleasing It

This video has been a giant seller and one of our most popular ever. Therefore, in celebration of its anniversary, we’re making it available again.

Here’s what people had to say about it:

“As an artist who attends workshops at the Florence Academy in Italy, I can say it was amazing. I have already watched the DVD more than 10 times. Everything in that DVD reminds me of the Florence Academy method of painting.”
— Ehsan Bigloo

“When I began watching this video, my heart began to pound … this must be what it was like to learn from the Old Masters!”
— Yvonne Evans

Available Now

Even if this isn’t your style or the way you want to paint, this is a rare opportunity to understand these techniques, and it will impact your own paintings and drawings, in any style. This is a special moment not to be missed, a part of painting history. You’ll want to know the techniques passed down for generations in order to inform your work at the highest level. This is one video you must add to your resource library because you’ll refer to it again and again as you progress in your skills.

Our “Old Masters” Guarantee

We want to provide you with the best instructors and the highest-quality videos so you can learn from the greatest artists of today. We want you to love this video, as well as your experience with us.

Order now and you’ll have our Old Masters guarantee. Try out Old World Portraiture with Daniel Graves, and if you find it isn’t a good match for you, just call our customer service department within 30 days of your purchase. We’ll provide your choice of an exchange or give you a prompt refund of the “Old Masters” on your dollar bills for every penny you paid. And most of all, we’ll make sure we stay friends.

This video offers everything you’re looking for to paint portraiture in the ways of the Old Masters. You’ll treasure every moment of what you’ll see and learn. You’ll be ready to try new methods and techniques that could accelerate the quality of your paintings more than you ever imagined.

Order your copy on DVD or in digital format to view on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Order Now

PS: Daniel Graves is driven to change the art world, one artist at a time. His dedication to art has trained some of the finest artists in the world, resulting in generations of teachers and students. This is a very rare opportunity to learn these age-old techniques for yourself and to make your paintings the best they can be, with the rich quality of the masters of the past. Soon you’ll be painting in the techniques of the Old Masters and producing work you’ll be proud to show to others. These techniques have been passed down for generations, and now are being passed on to you. Order your copy today.

Related > Daniel Graves is on the Advisory Board for Realism Today
This article was originally published in 2019