The program in Fine Arts combines training in traditional artistic media with a critical approach to making art. Courses at all levels, on-site and in the studio, emphasize technical ability, visual expression, creative innovation, critical observation, and analysis. Rome is our classroom, studio, and inspiration. From the monuments of the ancient city, through the rich tradition of the Renaissance and Baroque to the vibrant contemporary art scene, Fine Arts students are uniquely placed in the Eternal City to learn and develop their own vision.

Why study Fine Arts at AUR

Interdisciplinary

Beyond technical artistic skills, this program incorporates a range of disciplines including art history, conservation, and restoration. Numerous course components include written assignments through which students cultivate their skills in research, critical analysis, and writing. As with all Bachelor's degree programs taught at AUR, undergraduates are encouraged to complement their major with electives from other programs.

 
In Rome

AUR’s Fine Arts degree program uses the city of Rome to its full advantage. The first-year class 'Roman Sketchbook' focuses specifically on the city as a subject, drawing from its landscapes, architecture, paintings, and sculptures. Other courses, whether historical or contemporary in their focus, frequently supplement classroom study and studio practice with visits to sites, art galleries, churches, and exhibitions in the city.

 
Career conscious

The Fine Art Program prepares students to progress to advanced degrees (such as MFA) or positions in fields related to the Fine Arts. Career possibilities include being an art practitioner in a variety of artistic media; curatorship and arts administration; art therapy; and gallery work.

 

 

 

Field trips & on-site classes

Fine Arts students regularly use the city of Rome to hone their craft. On-site classes allow students first-hand interaction with the artists, movements, and techniques that they study in the classroom, and serve as the ideal model for sketching and painting practice. The program organizes day trips and weekend excursions in connection with its courses. Recent trips have included Florence and Venice to study Renaissance art. Trips to other Italian cities and sites (such as Milan, Naples, Ravenna, Sicily, etc.) constitute part of the annual program. Occasionally, the faculty also organizes trips to other major European cities and art centers for the purposes of visiting relevant exhibitions or museum collections.

 

AUR's Fine Arts faculty continue to excel in their artistic fields

“The Painter’s Daughter", a portrait by Professor Timothy Joseph Allen, was one of two hundred paintings selected for the 2021 exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in London. The show was open for viewing from Thursday, May 6th to Saturday, May 15th at Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1.

The exhibition was a celebration of the very best in contemporary portraiture nationally and internationally. Unlike other portrait exhibitions, it was rigorously selected by professional portrait painters who themselves have been elected by their peers to the Society. It is recognized as one of the world’s most extensive contemporary portrait exhibitions, forming a showcase of some 200 works.

 

Beyond the classroom & campus

Students of Fine Arts at AUR will spend a good deal of the year outside the studio, using Rome as the glorious backdrop or centerpiece of their artistic progress. The parks, piazzas, churches, museums, streets, and people of Rome all feature as subjects or settings for Fine Arts at AUR.

Scenes from the pandemic

The 2020-21 academic year was hugely disrupted across the world. In Rome, AUR Fine Arts students, though restricted as elsewhere, had the unique opportunity to work within a relatively empty Rome. Observing all necessary precautions and regulatory restrictions, the Fine Arts program was able to make the most of the empty spaces.

 

 

Career destinations

 

Film majors go on to a wide assortment of career paths, including a multitude of positions in media and entertainment and, increasingly, in online video production - a relatively new but massive field of opportunity for filmmakers. However, the skills you’ll acquire as a film major are transferable and valuable for many different fields, including in seemingly unrelated industries like law, cultural industries, or marketing.

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Sue P. - 2012

Advertising art director in LA

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Ann T. - 2019

Graduate Studies in the USA

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Stuart F. 2017

Art therapist in France

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Louis L. - 2018

Community arts worker in New York

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Alison R. - 2017

Fine artist in the USA

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'Lucky' W. - 2014

Graphic designer in California

 

Popular Fine Arts courses

SCULPTURE IN CLAY

This intensive sculpture workshop in clay takes place outside Rome. students will develop basic sculpture techniques and will be introduced to the history of sculpture in relation to this material.

PRINTMAKING WORKSHOP

Students will further develop and explore personal concepts in the printmaking medium to produce a coherent body of work. The course includes participation in a public exhibition of student work.

ROMAN SKETCHBOOK

On-site classes will provide landscape views, architectural forms, paintings, and three-dimensional sculpture as subject matter, using pencil, pen, charcoal, and sanguigna (red chalk) as drawing techniques.

THREE-DIMENSIONAL ART I

Simple (and often innovative) materials will give students a basic understanding of the relationship between form and content. Color used in three-dimensional work will also be explored.

SCULPTURE IN STONE

This ten-day intensive workshop takes place outside Rome near Carrara (Tuscany), the cradle of stone sculpture in Italy. Stone is one of the oldest materials used by sculptors and is still used by contemporary artists.

PAINTING TECHNIQUES II

Projects include working from the model, working with a limited palette, an investigation of how to paint flesh, consideration of complex compositions, and looking at paintings from earlier artists to better understand their techniques.

 

Advanced Painting Exhibition, 2019.

Professor Timothy Joseph Allen walks us through the creation of some of the paintings produced by his Advanced Painting students for the 2019 exhibition at The American University of Rome.

 

Outstanding Faculty

AUR's Fine Arts faculty are accomplished and celebrated artists who regularly exhibit and publish across the world. From the classical to the contemporary, from oils to clay, the AUR faculty are master practitioners and enthusiastic mentors.

See all faculty profiles

Paul Gwynne, Ph.D

A world-renowned expert in Neo-Latin poetry. Professor Gwynne's research focuses on Italian art and culture, particularly in the periods of the Renaissance and Counter-Reformation. His most recent publications include Patterns of Patronage in Renaissance Rome: Francesco Sperulo, Poet, Prelate, Soldier, Spy (2015); Francesco Benci and the Rise of Neo-Latin Epic (2018).

Timothy Joseph Allen, MFA

Timothy Joseph Allen is an American painter working in Rome since 1998. He is firmly rooted in the Classical tradition of figurative art and is principally influenced by the Old Masters of the 17th century. "We need to be reminded: there is no beauty without rules and there is no better rule book than nature."

Marina Buening, M.A.

Professor Buening's research includes all types of materials, which she uses in her sculptural and installation work. She integrates stone with very light materials such as paper or wire to achieve lightness in her work. Recently she set her attention on printmaking, where she combines different artistic techniques.

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Course requirements and further detail

For more in-depth information about this program and individual course requirements, please see our full catalog.