The Swedish Academy of Realist Art (SARA), was founded in 2006 by Hans-Peter Szameit and Sanna Tomac as Scandinavia’s first school of fine art dedicated to traditional, realistic drawing and painting.
SARA provides the highest level of training in realistic drawing and painting using traditional techniques and methods of the Renaissance, 18th and 19th-century European and Russian academies, as well as outstanding contemporary methods. SARA uses the comparative method, it does not use the sight-size method. Students acquire skills that allow them to create personal, contemporary works of art that meet the standards of excellence and professional craftsmanship set by master artists centuries ago.
SARA is officially recognised by the Swedish National Board of Education and is overseen by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för Yrkeshögskolan). Swedish students are eligible for CSN student loans and SARA is listed as a PCDL provider by the United Kingdom.
SARA is recommended by the Art Renewal Center as an ARC Accredited atelier.
SARA is sponsored by Simrishamns kommun
Six reasons to study at the Swedish Academy of Realist Art
1 The Method
SARA gets excellent results from its students. Please visit our web galleries to see examples of student work. SARA uses the comparative method to teach its students because the comparative method prepares them to work easily in any possible situation. Most schools of realistic art use the sight-size method to teach their students despite the fact that it is very limiting and requires a very specific set-up. There is NO sight-size at SARA! We want our students to work freely and confidently anywhere, in any circumstances and in any scale/size. For more information, you can read the essay SARA has posted about the comparative method.
2 Individuality and Creativity
SARA takes pride in making the extra effort to foster each individual student’s personal voice while they learn within the larger academic framework. We want our students to grow into themselves, not develop a “look” to their work that can be attributed to a certain school. When the academic training is very strict and structured, and a great part of the focus is technical, there can be a loss of creativity. This intensive pursuit of technical excellence can almost make one forget why one wanted to paint in the first place. At SARA, our goal is to help students maintain their passion and purpose, and to never forget that technique exists not for its own sake, but as an important tool towards achieving creative freedom.
3 School Environment
SARA is housed in an impressive 19th-century building that perfectly supports its beautiful, inspiring and uplifting leaning environment. The staff and students come from all over the world and are from all kinds of artistic backgrounds and ages. Many students think of the school as a home away from home. They cook most of their meals here and enjoy hanging out after hours to sketch, socialize or watch a movie together on our giant projection screen, only leaving when it’s bedtime. SARA is an intimate school. Here, you will not get lost in the crowd. We all feel like a family here and prioritize communication and support, both regarding artistic development as well as on a personal level.
SARA is located in the attractive coastal town of Simrishamn, in the beautiful region of Österlen – famous for it’s natural beauty and artistic tradition – in the South of Sweden. Simrishamn offers SARA and its students many benefits, including a high standard of living at a low cost. It is a small town, and most students find accommodation only a 5 -10 minute stroll from the school, which promotes a relaxed quality of everyday life and leaves more energy to focus on one’s studies. In fact, most things are within walking distance, like food stores, restaurants, shops, train station, library, the sea, beaches, etc. Also, continental Europe is very close, with the large cosmopolitan city of Copenhagen, Denmark, less than 2 hours away by train.
SARA’s teachers love their work, which contributes to the overall positive atmosphere of the school. They are highly skilled artists, who have active careers outside the school. Most are alumni of SARA, and so have an intimate and personal knowledge of the school and it’s work methods, which results in consistent instruction. Teachers also play a direct and active role in developing and improving the school, and feel personally invested in SARA. Some faculty members have their studio at the school, others in their homes, but regardless, students are invited to visit and learn from the personal work created by the faculty. Students also get the opportunity to work on projects side-by-side with their teachers, a process that is extremely valuable and stimulating.
6 We Bring Out Your Best
No matter what your skill level, no matter what your background, SARA will help you grow and improve. SARA has students fresh out of high school, students with years of training at other art schools and universities, as well as professional painters. Because it is a small school, everyone at SARA gets intensive individual attention. Everyone’s progress and development is closely monitored and the instruction they receive is tailored to their individual needs. No one slips through the cracks. You do not need to be concerned about your skill level when you begin your studies. It is not your skill level or natural talent that will determine your success as a student, it is your determination, passion and dedication. If you are concerned that your lack of skill might keep you from being accepted, please visit our Before and After gallery. What is important for us is your attitude. With the right attitude we can help you to amazing results.