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About the Renaissance Retreat

Join me for an enchanting seven-day getaway at the Castello di Potentino, a Medieval castle in the heart of Tuscany, to paint from life with the goal of creating an oil portrait in a landscape as exemplified in many Renaissance portraits.

Most of the time with the model will be spent inside the castle’s chapel–transformed for the occasion into our painting studio–while some of the time will be spent sketching the model in the countryside.

If you are enthusiastic about portraiture and landscape as a subject, and are a beginner or advanced painter in pursuit of adventure and community, this is THE workshop for you!

Time not painting is dedicated to special activities enjoyed by all painters and accompanying family/companions: learning to make pasta, learning to make cheese, tasting nationally and internationally-awarded wines,  swimming in the glorious outdoor pool, exploring the mysteries of the castle, strolling through the vineyards and gardens and discovering the secrets of the surrounding valley, including the nearby river, the Torrente Vivo.

The maximum number of Painting Participants is 7 per retreat.

The maximum number total–Painting Participants + Non-Painting Companions–is 16 per retreat.

Upcoming Retreats

  • Monday, May 27th to Monday, June 3rd, 2019
  • Sunday, October 6th to Sunday, October 13th, 2019 – SOLD OUT

Register below

Should none of the above dates work for you and your group, Custom Retreats are possible.  Please contact me using the Questions form for details.

For any and all questions that you don’t find an answer to on this web page, please use the Questions form to contact me or send a message via WhatsApp: +39 347 263 1033.

—Timothy Joseph Allen
Your Painting Teacher and Renaissance Retreat Organizer

Video Highlights from Past Retreats

Video Highlights from the September 2018 Retreat

The Food & Wine – Farm to Table

Castello di Potentino prides itself on growing most of its own produce. Wines are made in the castle’s centuries old cellars, and olive oil pressed from the millennial olive groves in the surrounding valley. Potentino also grows the majority of the fruit and vegetables served at the castle in its own vegetable garden down the valley. They also work with the local shepherds to produce cheese as well as with the local butcher for meat.

Cook with a Michelin Star Chef

Michelin-starred Chef Roberto Rossi of il Silene with take you through an in-depth display of pasta making before cooking you a delicious meal of recipes from Monte Amiata.

Learn to Make Pecorino and Ricotta Cheese

Lorenzo and Francesca of Caseificio Murceti will show you how easy it is to make cheese. They will bring a pail of milk from their sheep milked that morning and show you the different techniques used to make real pecorino and ricotta as well as describing to you the local traditions of cheesemaking and their history in Tuscany.

Discover Wines with the Winemakers

Charlotte Horton and Alexander Greene, owners of Castello di Potentino, will take you on a tour of the castle’s wines. It is a rare opportunity to talk directly with a winemaker about her creations and have the possibility to discuss the wines in-depth and hopefully awaken your pallate and deepen your understanding of the castle itself.

Testimonials

Tim offers a week of learning to paint from a model and en plein air in a Renaissance style. That is the focus of the week, and it is an intense learning experience. I went to sleep at night thinking about what I would do next with my painting, and woke to thumb through photos of paintings by the Italian masters. Tim is a great instructor, and led us through the process of slowly building a painting. We had an excellent, lovely model and a beautiful setting for the backdrop to our developing portraits. Staying at the castle was like finding a little piece of heaven, and the food, wine and conversation were of the highest quality. Our restaurant outings were top notch. It was a week I will never forget.

Karen S. - USASeptember, 2018

The Renaissance Retreat was one of the highlights of my life, especially for two of my passions: painting and food. The castle and the landscape were beautiful. The food and wine plentiful and delicious. Tim provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn and apply renaissance oil painting techniques with inspiring subjects (live, costumed model and beautiful Tuscan landscapes). The opportunity to learn from a Michelin chef and from artisan local cheese-makers added so much to the experience. Thank you Tim!

Vicki N. - USASeptember, 2018

I highly recommend this amazing trip to Potentino, with delicious food, divine wine and inspirational art classes!
Tim is an excellent and passionate art teacher who gently encourages his students to push forward! We received all the art supplies we needed, worked with a beautiful and professional model and painted plein air too! The time I spent at the castle with him and the amazing group of friends I made there, inspired me grew as an artist and also got me motivated to carry on with all of what I’ve learned.
I will never forget this magical experience. Thank you!

Garna K. - BrazilSeptember, 2018

This painting retreat exceeded my expectations. There was an intense focus on painting and Tim was patient and instructive and always willing to answer questions and demonstrate techniques. The castle was the perfect setting … beautiful and inspirational…enhanced by its hostess, Charlotte, who created unbelievable meals with an emphasis on fresh, local products. All meals were shared at large community tables that provided an opportunity for us to meet other guests and a charming group of young volunteers.

Debby F. - USASeptember, 2018

The Rooms

Each room in the castle is unique, as the name of each suggests:

  • The Baron’s Room – Double ensuite with shower.  Also available for use as a single.
  • The Yellow Room – Double ensuite with bathroom with bathtub and shower.  Also available for use as a single.
  • The Rust Room – Double ensuite with bathroom with bath and shower.  Also available for use as a single.
  • The Visconti Room – Double with ensuite bathroom with bath and shower. Features bed used in Visconti films.  Also available for use as a single.
  • The Princess Room – Double ensuite with bath. Large sitting room, with wood burning stove.  Also available for use as a single.
  • The Green Room – Double. Private Bathroom next door with a free-standing bath with shower.  Also available for use as a single.
  • The Red Room – Large twin/triple with private bathroom next door with separate shower and bath tub.
  • The Tower Room – Twin/triple ensuite with bath and shower.

You can see pictures of each room below.  If there is one you would prefer, please let us know in the registration form and we will do our best to satisfy your request.  First come, first serve.

The 8-Day Renaissance Retreat Schedule and Painting Program

We strongly recommend that you arrive in Rome at least the day before the scheduled pick-up and transfer from Rome to Castello di Potentino… and schedule your return flight for at least the day after the transfer from Castello di Potentino to Rome.

Day 1

Meet in Rome at 9:00 am in Piazza Cavour.  Exact location TBA.

  • Transfer to Potentino

Lunch: 13:00 to 14:00

Free Time: 14:00 to 15:00

  • Swim / Relax / Rest

Afternoon Program: 15:00 to 18:00

  • Orientation
  • Tour of the Castle
  • Introduction to the Painting Course

Evening Program: 18:30 to 20:00

  • Wine Tasting

Dinner: 20:00 to 21:30

Day 2

Breakfast: 7:00 to 9:00

Morning Painting Program: 9:00 to 12:00

  • Blocking in the Portrait

Lunch: 13:00 -14:00

Free Time: 14:00 to 15:30

  • Swim / Massage* / Yoga* / Rest / Other

Afternoon Program for All:  15:30 to 18:00

  • Guided walk of the valley

Evening Program:  19:00 to 20:00

  • Aperitivo / Slide Show – Renaissance Portraits and the Tuscan Landscape

Dinner: 20:00 to 21:30

Day 3

Breakfast: 7:00 to 9:00

Morning Painting Program: 9:00 to 12:00

  • Blocking in the landscape
  • Building lights on the model

Lunch in Seggiano: 12:30 -14:30

Free Time: 14:30 to 16:30

  • Swim / Massage* / Yoga* / Rest / Other

Afternoon Painting Program:  16:30 to 19:30

  • Landscape Painting

Evening Program:  19:00 to 20:00

  • Aperitivo / Slide Show – Technical examination of famous portraits

Dinner: 20:00 to 21:30

Day 4

Breakfast: 7:00 to 9:00

Morning Painting Program: 9:00 to 12:00

  • Building lights on the model and the landscape
  • The case for unity

Lunch: 13:00 -14:00

Free Time: 14:00 to 17:00

  • Swim / Massage* / Yoga* / Rest / Other

Afternoon Program for All:  17:30

  • Pasta lesson with a Michelin star chef Roberto Rossi

Dinner at Il Silene:  19:30 to 21:30

Day 5

Breakfast: 7:00 to 9:00

Morning Painting Program: 9:00 to 12:00

  • First round of glazing…
  • What does it mean to paint a “skin tone”?

Lunch: 13:00 -14:00

Free Time: 14:00 to 15:30

  • Swim / Massage* / Yoga* / Rest / Other

Afternoon Painting Program:  15:30 to 18:30

  • Landscape sketching with the model

Evening Program:  18:30 to 20:00

  • Aperitivo / Relax

Dinner: 20:00 to 21:30

Day 6

Breakfast: 7:00 to 9:00

Morning Painting Program: 9:00 to 12:00

  • Second round of glazing
  • Color in the landscape
  • A discussion on atmospheric perspective

Lunch: 12:30 -13:30

Free Time: 13:30 to 15:30

  • Swim / Massage* / Yoga* / Rest / Other

Afternoon Program for All:  15:30 to 18:00

  • The Cheese Display – Learning how to make cheese!

Evening Program:  18:00 to 20:00

  • Aperitivo / Relax

Dinner: 20:30 to 22:00

Day 7

Breakfast: 7:00 to 9:00

Morning Painting Program: 9:00 to 12:00

  • Final touches

Lunch: 12:30 -13:30

Free Time: 13:30 to 15:30

  • Swim / Massage* / Yoga* / Rest / Other

Afternoon Painting Program:  15:30 to 18:00

  • Final critique

Evening Program:  18:00 to 20:00

  • Wine Tasting

Dinner: 20:30 to 22:00

Day 8

Breakfast: 7:00 to 9:00

Departure – Transfer to Rome: 9:30

Note: activities indicated with an asterisk (*) are extracurricular activities and are not included in the package price of the Retreat.  If you are interested in these activities, please let us know in the Registration Form below.

What Does it Cost?

The total cost of the Retreat will depend on the number of people will join the Painting Participant.

Cost for 1 Painting Participant in one Single Room: €3,956.80

The above cost includes everything listed in the above program.
The cost does NOT include all the extra-curricular activities like yoga or massage that you might request during the retreat and airfare and/or travel to Rome.

Again, we strongly recommend that you arrive in Rome at least the day before the scheduled pick-up and transfer from Rome to Castello di Potentino… and schedule your return flight for at least the day after the transfer from Castello di Potentino to Rome.

Cost for 1 Painting Participant + 1 Non-Painting Companion: €5,785.30

The above cost includes everything listed in the above program.
The cost does NOT include all the extra-curricular activities like yoga or massage that you might request during the retreat, airfare and/or travel to Rome and the painting sessions for the “Non-Painting Companion”.

Note: the cost of a Non-Painting Companion is less than 50% the cost of a Painting Participant, so bring along a friend or family…we are sure it will be a unique experience for all!

How Do I Register?

Registration is a 3-step process.  Using the Registration form below, you can:

  1. Calculate the Cost
  2. Provide your Contact Information
  3. Confirm your Registration Information

Very important:

  • Payment is NOT due at the time of Registration.
  • After we have received and reviewed your information, we will send you a Request for Payment for a Deposit of 30% of the total cost per Painting Participant and Non-Painting Companion.
  • Once we have received the Deposit, your reservation and participation is secure.
  • The Deposit is non-refundable.
  • The remaining amount is due 75 days prior to the start of the Retreat.
  • All Terms and Conditions are indicated in the form below and here in PDF format.

Questions Before You Register?

Please send us any questions you may have using the Questions form below and we’ll be happy to reply as soon as possible.

  • If you would like to talk with us about this experience, please provide your phone number and we will be happy to call.

Oil Painting: The Portrait in a Landscape – What Can You Expect to Learn?

7 days work on a painting really isn’t that long, especially for a workshop intent on leveraging the full scope of oil painting: an oil sketch, underpainting, glazes, scumbles, etc..  However, there are ways to move things along in order to accommodate such a robust and ambitious endeavor, while also making it possible for you to have a sense of what steps could be taken in the future.

Working from a live model, our primary considerations will be:

  • Composition – setting the placement and scale of the subject within the landscape
  • Likeness – what does it mean to achieve a likeness in a portrait and what are the best strategies to do so?
  • Light –  management of light in connection to the specific subjects vs. management of light of the whole (the light pattern).
  • Glazes and Scumbles – how to use them and how each affects volume, space and atmosphere.

Meet the Painter and Organizer, Timothy Joseph Allen

Tim working on a recent portrait in his studio in Rome.

Greetings! My name is Tim.  I’ve been a figurative painter since 1992, I’ve lived in Italy since 1998, I’ve taught at The American University of Rome since 2006, and I have managed and directed my own painting school in Rome–The Painting and Drawing Art Studio of Rome–since 2010.

For the past several years I have looked for the perfect place to conduct a unique and immersive painting workshop for you–the aspiring artist and/or adventurous hobbyist–while also providing you and any traveling companions with an experience that is as bountiful in education and leisure as it is rich in culinary delight.

At Castello di Potentino I have found that place.

I hope to see you in Tuscany!

–Tim

For more about Tim and his paintings, please visit his website.

About Castello di Potentino

“Castello di Potentino is an ancient castle built on an Etruscan site. It lies in a secret valley in one of the last undiscovered corners of Tuscany – Monte Amiata. The medieval building is surrounded by unspoilt countryside, dotted with the vines and the ancient olive trees used for the estate’s small production of high quality wine, grappa and oil.

“Bought and restored in 2000 by the Greene family, today the castle is operating as a dynamic cultural centre. Ideal as an off-season travel venue, it hosts guests, events and weddings all year round.

“Agriculture and viticulture are about growing and living, so eating and drinking well are an important element in the Potentino ethos which is concerned with the sustainability of how we inhabit a place and relate to it physically and mentally.”

— from the Castello di Potentino website

A view of the castle from the vineyard.

Meet the People of Castello di Potentino

“The Castle represented a monumental continuation of this archaic relationship between man and his environment. It was a paradigm or archetype of that creative reciprocity and I soon realized it should come back to life as the dynamic cultural hub that it had always been – a PLACE where man, nature and artful intelligence meet and create – a 21st Century Castle.”

—Charlotte Horton

For more on Castello di Potentino, please visit their website.

Charlotte Horton and Alexander Greene with Minnie and Otto.

Watch a Recent Interview with Charlotte about Life at the Castle

Location

Castello di Potentino is located in Tuscany near Seggiano in the province of Grossetto.  The transfer from Rome to the castle is about 3 hours.