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Franciscan Art and Icon Painting

Bookings have now closed for the 2019 retreat.
(Please email or phone for any last minute availability or to register for Assisi 2020)

Price £1,380 per person

A residential retreat combining a practical icon painting course with some art history and pilgrimage to all the main sites of Assisi and beyond. The retreat is focused on late medieval Franciscan art and the early ‘icons’ of St Francis and St Clare from the Italo-Byzantine school. It is the only course of its kind in the world.

more info

Assisi Highlights

‘The course was just the right length of time in Assisi with an excellent balance of painting and leisure time. Helen’s tuition was thorough with just the right amount of supervision without seeming to interfere in the process of each individual’s learning. I’ve been given so much this retreat, I feel so blessed! I honestly can’t think of anything which has struck me as a negative!”
  Anon (Assisi 2016)

Assisi is the perfect place to escape to and with 11 days in the City of Peace there is plenty of time to immerse oneself in the art and culture of this beautiful Italian hill-town.

Discover the masterpieces of late medieval art in the world famous Basilica di San Francesco and the National Gallery in Perugia.

Visit as often as you like churches of Franciscan significance; San Damiano, Santa Chiara, Santa Maria degli Angleli and San Rufino and the Carceri d’Eramo.

Explore the picturesque medieval streets of Assisi with a postcard view around every corner.

Enjoy the superb local food and regional wines of Umbria and relax in one of the piazza café bars. Share a ‘Canticle of the Sun’ picnic of locally produced food.

Browse the local artisan shops for leather goods, marbled notebooks, art and crafts.

Spend a peaceful day at the mountain sanctuary of La Verna (where St Francis received the stigmata in 1224).

Feel at home in a peaceful convent guesthouse in the heart of historic central Assisi, have your own ‘room with a view’, just a short walk from the main piazza.

Make the most of this peaceful, prayerful environment for contemplation and meditation

Painting Course Highlights

‘This has been a life enhancing experience. Writing my icon was quite amazing and wonderful. Our group was delightful and supportive. A wonderful way to experience Assisi, Franciscan Spirituality and ultimately Christ himself. A profoundly spiritual experience, accessible to all.’  
  P.C. Leamington Spa (Assisi 2014)

Learn 12th century medieval panel painting techniques as well as other classic icon painting techniques.

Study and paint the early devotional images of Saints Francis and Clare and the Virgin Mary and discover Italo-Byzantine art at the intersection of East and West.

Complete your own panel painting using egg tempera, genuine gold leaf on a high quality natural wood gessoed board.

Receive step by step tuition and support.

Key Info

  • 10 nights B&B with single en suite shower room as standard.
  • No single room supplement. (N.B upgrade to large single at £95 extra subject to availability)
  • Minibus transfer from Rome Fiumicino (subject to timed group rendezvous)
  • Painting course is open to Beginners and Improvers (no previous experience required)
  • Small group of 7 participants (max) plus tutor
  • Mobility: some gentle daily walking around the town will be required
  • Pre-Travel info with full itinerary sent in advance

What’s included?

‘Helen combines a sound technical and artistic grounding with a delightful, contagious enthusiasm for Late Medieval Italian panels to provide an unmatched icon painting experience for participants and partners. Her expert tuition displays a keen sensitivity to each student’s ability and temperament. The atmosphere in the class is peaceful and meditative and the view from the painting room of the magnificent Basilica of Santa Chiara intensified the spirituality’
  Anon (Assisi 2015)

  • Arrival and Departure transfers
  • Minibus transport to Perugia and La Verna
  • All accommodation
  • 7 day painting course (over 37 hours) in private garden studio
  • Individual tuition from experienced teacher with specialist background
  • Icon panel, gold leaf and specialist materials
  • Bespoke Tempera pigment sets available for loan or to buy
  • Detailed course handouts
  • Art history seminar (‘Late Medieval Franciscan Art in Assisi’)
  • Visits to the Basilicas di S Francesco & S Chiara, S Damiano and S Maria degli Angeli
  • Day visit to La Verna with 3 course lunch included
  • Visit to Perugia and the National Gallery of Umbria
  • Umbrian ‘Canticle of the Sun’ picnic

What’s not included?

  • Flights are not included and must be booked independently. Please see the ‘More Info’ travel advice section for help planning your trip.
  • Travel insurance. Please ensure you are adequately covered.
  • Lunch, evening meals and all refreshments are not included. (Continental breakfasts, the Umbrian picnic and 3 course lunch at La Verna are included)
  • Basic art equipment, brushes etc (‘what to bring’ list sent in advance)

How do I book?

S D Window

Please pay a deposit of £100 GBP by one of the following methods:

Online via Paypal:
Go to the ‘Prices Dates & Bookings’ tab on this website, select your trip and use the ‘Pay Now’ button.

By Bank Transfer or Cheque: Please email email hidden; JavaScript is required for bank details and the address to send cheques to, along with your contact details

N.B. The balance can be paid any time up to two months before departure

Booking Confirmation

On receipt of your deposit, confirmation of your booking will be sent to you via email (or post if you do not use email).

Insufficient Numbers & Flight Booking

A minimum number of participants is required for the retreat to go ahead. Therefore the retreat will only be confirmed two months before departure (or before if numbers are met in advance). Please wait for confirmation before booking flights.