Master Class & Master Class Lab

July 2nd – August 13th, 2018

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Master Class Guest of Honor 2018, – Susannah Phillips

Master Class Mentor in Residence 2018 – Kurt Knobelsdorf

The model of the Master Class is an intensive, incubator-like full-time studio program for the highly motivated and gifted student, under the tutelage of Israel Hershberg. It is not only guided by focused, probing instruction and critique grounded in the creative process – in learning for the eye and the hand – it aims to foster the tenacity and independence necessary to work through the diverse complexities artistic endeavors surely require. Work in the Master Class is pursued via the immediacy of experience, through continual practice, engagement with great masterworks and hard, uncompromising work. In the Master Class, it is the doing that produces understanding.

NEW: The Master Class Lab is a new component and essential evolutionary next step of our existing Master Class. It is designed for participants WITH PREVIOUS MASTER CLASS EXPERIENCE ONLY. Enhancing it is an additional distinguished Mentor in Residence. Details for How the MC Lab Works are below.

The JSS in Civita plunges the model of the former Jerusalem Studio School Master Class into the sensual root and sap of the western world’s artistic heart. Italy’s art, landscape, architecture, artifacts and light converge into an integrated comprehensive experience of art and life that exists nowhere else. The sheer quality and quantity of it dwarfs all that comprises the Western world’s museums combined. This program nourishes a lifetime.

The JSS in Civita Master Class should not be confused with the ever more ubiquitous plein-air workshops.  The Master Class is rugged – student output is inquiry based and intensive.  Faculty input is challenging, delving into weighty considerations of pictorial language as well as frequent direct challenges to one’s existing ideas and approaches to painting and practice.  Faculty give on-site individual critique and group critiques usually twice a week, with an all-day final crit at the end  of the 6-week session.  Students work on their own in great part and are encouraged to be ambitious in setting out on a days’ work.  The impact of the Master Class is cumulative in terms of the learning curve.  For this reason, we urge those who desire an optimal experience – one that will sustain them – to enroll for the full 6-week session.  If this is not possible, we suggest 4 weeks.  The recommended minimum stay with the Master Class is 3 weeks although a 2 week option is available.  For a more fundamentally supervised and shorter-term experience we suggest choosing one of our excellent Affiliate Faculty courses.


  • 2 or 3 weeks of independent work within a guided residency structure prior to the start of the Master Class accompanied by crit intervals from the guest Mentor in Residence and MC Faculty.
  • Transition into the Master Class for 3 – 6 weeks with an amplified first week overlap of both the Guest of Honor and the Mentor in Residence.
  • The remaining weeks of the MC accompanied by the Guest of Honor and MC Faculty.
  • The MC faculty – Israel Hershberg, Yael Scalia, and Yedidya Hershberg – will be present and available throughout both MC and MC Lab.

We see MC Lab as an important step in cultivating an attitude of experimentation and independence among our more experienced Master Classers.

Master Class Guest of Honor for summer 2018 will be Susannah Phillips. Susannah will be our instructor-in-residence July 2nd – 23rd.

Master Class Mentor in Residence for summer 2018 will be Kurt Knobelsdorf. Kurt will be in residence June 18th – July 9th.

Yael Scalia and Yedidya Hershberg will assist with Master Class instruction.  The full session Master Class runs from July 2nd – August 13, 2018, and will offer a knock-out line-up of excursions: the Piero della Francesca Trail of Arezzo, San Sepolcro & Urbino, Siena, Naples, Rome, Florence, Assisi and Bologna.

Master Class application is by portfolio review only.

Please email us at with any questions and inquiries.

Click here to apply to the Master Class

Master Class Tuition & Fees

Master Class student painting in the shade of the Porta Borgiana, Civita Castellana

The Master Class is not just a landscape painting program. Studio spaces for still life and figure work as well as for painting after daylight hours are available at our centrally located J.B.C. Corot Studios in the main Piazza Matteotti, the Carcerette Studios & Studio Classroom and the Claude Lorrain Studio & Studio Classroom in the Piazza dei Martiri. All are in the historic center of Civita Castellana and available for reservation.

Scheduled real time and on-site instruction and critique, regular group critiques, the weekly artist talks, excursions to Italy’s great art treasuries, communal dinners and daily after-hours gatherings of the wider JSS in Civita community of artists in studios, the piazza, restaurants and cafes, ensures a constant dynamic exchange of artistic ideas and practice.

Master Class Schedule:

Students in the Master Class are expected to demonstrate commitment and an independent work ethic during their time in the program whether out in the landscape or in one of the various studio spaces, painting subjects of their choosing. Master Class faculty will be making rounds four mornings a week with at least two weekly mid-day critiques. After dinner meetings with the Master Class faculty or Affiliate Group teachers will include weekly scheduled lectures, informal slide talks and presentations.

Tuesday & Saturday Evenings: Lectures and talks with guest artists – TBA

Monday  Evening: Communal dinners with all JSS in Civita participants

Wednesday Evening: Pre-excursion orientation talk.

Thursdays: Weekly Excursions.

Weekends: Students are free to relax, paint or travel. The Reception at the Relais Falisco is happy to provide you with information on planning excursions to other cities, such as Assisi, Perugia, Orvieto, Spoleto, and Venice.

To view more works by JSS in Civita Master Class Students, click here.

Click here to apply to the Master Class