As this Cennino Cennini document shows, during the Renaissance, artists in training were expected to copy and then to emulate the works of theri master artists in order to learn. You still find today, some museums encourage and most museums allow artists to copy from works in the collection. Copying a good way to learn while emulation is a good way to build upon another and to develop personal distinctions. It requires one to pay deep attention to the subtleties in the work. From Verrochio to Leonardo and Ghirlandaio to Michelangelo and so on, artists copied from, worked on, and worked with their masters, eventually emulating them and often supassing them in their own work.
Creative Copies, a show linked below at the Drawing Center, highlighted drawings that supported significant connections through drawing. Some excerpts will be read in class.
This site, highlights the working process of Vermeer and some misunderstandings about his work. As with all artists, nothing can replace looking at or working from the original.
While there are variations on the classical techniques, both as they are passed down and as they are modernized, this artist shares his approach to Venetian glazing.
Listen to these discussions about Titian and his painting and you will gain insight into his artistic temperament and the evolution of his later works over time.
The discussion of this Watteau painting shows his dependence upon drawing and the way in which he worked up his paintings from a composite of drawings, superimposed upon an already painted landscape.
Here is a simplification of a glazing technique:
Here is another adaptive and modernized method of underpainting in oils from a well prepared ground, using acrylic materials as ground.