About Us

About Us 2019-10-14T12:36:23+00:00


The Florence Academy of Art was founded in 1991 by Daniel Graves to provide the highest level of instruction in classical drawing, painting and sculpture. Graves’ vision of the Academy is its potential to train a select group of highly skilled Realist painters and sculptors.

His philosophy, which underlies the Academy’s curriculum and method of instruction, demands a return to discipline in art, to canons of beauty, and to the direct study of nature and the Old Masters as the foundation for great painting and sculpture. Under his direction, the Academy is a source of stimulation and healthy competition, in which an internationally varied group of students receives training from professional painters of different nationalities, in cities renowned for their beauty and artistic past.
To read Daniel’s full thoughts on art education, click here.

As a student at the FAA / Sweden, you get the best of both worlds. Our students enjoy all the advantages of a small atelier-school: keeping enrollment to 28 allows us to fit under one roof. This means students at different levels in the curriculum work next to each other, so beginning students have the chance to watch and learn from the more advanced. In addition, the private studios of FAA / Sweden’s faculty are on school premises. This close proximity and access to the instructors allows for daily interaction, and the opportunity to watch professional artists at work.

Our students come from all over the world. Our network of galleries and alumni extends far beyond the three countries we operate in. At the same time we appreciate the special quality of our environs, and keep a local touch to the school. There are clear advantages to studying in Sweden – we focus on them.


The Florence Academy of Art is a small and dynamic center dedicated to the training of young artists through the combination of intense observation with advanced craft skills. The curriculum derives from the classical-realist tradition rooted in the 19th century (most particularly exemplified by the French Academies in the teaching of master painters like Gérôme, Bonnat and Carlos Duran) but also addresses the creative and professional position of the artist in a contemporary environment.
It is the view of this Academy that throughout the 20th century prominent movements of art have steadily drawn attention (and teaching) away from close observation of the material world and the acquisition of strong technical skills, to a position where cohesive artistic thought is inexorably fragmented by the urge towards greater individual expression.

The Academy therefore provides students with the opportunity to explore distinctive aspects of their chosen subject through the development of considerable powers of draftsmanship, direct study of works of the Old Masters and a deep, practical understanding of the materials and methods of the artist. By this means, and through the resulting identification of clear artistic objectives, students acquire creative self-confidence, visual understanding and subtle and precise powers of description.

Study at the Academy centers upon the importance of drawing (particularly drawing from the human figure) as a means to gaining skill in painting or sculpture. Through intense observation students acquire a visual literacy that enables them to interpret humanist values in their work, and, ultimately, seek to create a work of universal relevance.

The program, like that of the French Academies, is based upon systematic progression through the classical disciplines, interpreting the basic elements of composition, form, color harmony and expression. Advancement to each level of study is dependent upon successful completion of the previous level. In this way, the program is carefully matched to each individual and not imposed in a ‘study group’ context.

Institutional Goals

In summary, the Academy aims to train artists to:

  • draw to a very high standard
  • execute works in painting or sculpture to high levels of professional craftsmanship
  • acquire a deep understanding of the works and methods of the Old Masters
  • acquire a sound awareness of commercial practices in Fine Art


The academy is sustained by a group of committed artists whose instructional language is unified by their common background, but each brings his or her individual voice to the critique apoteksv.se.

The Academy’s administrative staff offers help and guidance to students before and after their applying to the Academic Program. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

At FAA/Sweden there are also a number of Guest Instructors each Academic Year. These instructors are recruited from the group of FAA alumni who have distinguished themselves as professional artists. During their visits students will see a lot of them, two to three days a week. This provides our students with a dynamic learning environment, without compromising the continuity which will always be central in our method.

Andreas Birath – Academic Director

Matilda Bjurström – Principal Instructor
Britta Noresten – Principal Instructor

Michael DeVore – Office Manager

Guest Instructors 2018/2019
Zacheriah Kramer
Joe Altwer
Aina Clotas
Roald Sivertsen
Carl Sandvold
Toby Wright

Past Guest Instructors:
Charles Weed
Dhiman Dam
Hege Haugen
Jamie Coreth
Janne Jääskeläinen
Joakim Ericsson
Per-Elof Nilsson Ricklund
Nick Alm
Tanvi Pathare
Toby Wright
Vitaly Schtanko
Zacheriah Kramer


The Florence Academy of Art / Sweden is located in Kvarnbyn, Mölndal. This small, picturesque town is just 10 minutes outside of Gothenburg and is home to a museum of local decorative arts and numerous professionals working in art-related fields. Its proximity to Gothenburg allows students access to all the conveniences and extracurricular activities of a major university town.

In Kvarnbyn the rapids roar down just as they did when they were used to power the grain mills back in the Middle Ages. In the evenings you can see Mölndalsfallen lit up as they plunge 48 metres between the high, dark factory walls. The falls are particularly spectacular in winter when frost and icicles reinforce the impact.

Located on the top floor of a renovated paper mill, the studio is designed to give each student the working conditions we believe essential for training as a realist artist. The Florence Academy of Art’s vision of realistic painting requires that students work under north facing light with enough space between the artist and subject to work in sight-size. Custom-designed skylights provide the natural north light to the 5500-square foot space. Students are assigned semi-private studio spaces to work their assigned exercises.

The Academy makes available a lending library, an archive of over 5000 images collected by the Art History staff, and access to ArtStor, a database of over 500,000 images operated by the Mellon Foundation.