In this class, copying is encouraged.

By Melissa Locker
Updated: January 24, 2017
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Have you always wanted to paint like Michelangelo, the Renaissance master, but find your skill level is more on par with Michelangelo, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?

New York Academy of Art is offering a nine-week workshop that will give budding artists the chance to learn from the masters, no time machine necessary. The class takes students inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art to copy paintings and sculptures directly from the original artworks housed in the museum’s extensive collection. Though copying your neighbor’s work is frowned upon in geometry class, imitation is a traditional method for art instruction. Copying a masterpiece lets students closely study lines, decode effects, learn color blocking and brush strokes, and follow the steps used to create a masterpiece while learning how to create their own.

Working under the close supervision of an instructor, students will select a work of art from the Met’s collection and embark on a careful study of the piece in order to figure out how to recreate it.  

Classes meet once a week from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and, based on the course description, by the end of the session students will be well trained in both art appreciation and creation. Topics covered will include color matching and mixing, laying out a painter’s palette, glazing techniques, surface preparation, and the historic use of materials, mediums, and pigments.

There will also be in-depth studies of two masterworks: Michelangelo’s “Studies for the Libian Sibyl” and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Head of the Virgin,” both of which are housed in the Met’s Drawings and Prints Department.

The course runs from September 24 to December 3. After completing it, you’ll be ready to take on the Sistine Chapel. (Well, maybe.)