The Craftsman's Handbook [NOOK Book]


Fifteenth-century handbook, written by a working artist of the day, reveals secrets and techniques of the masters in drawing, oil painting, frescoes, panel painting, gilding, casting, more. Direct link to artists of the Middle Ages. Translation, introduction by D. V. Thompson. "delightful flavor..." — N.Y. Herald Tribune.
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The Craftsman's Handbook

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Fifteenth-century handbook, written by a working artist of the day, reveals secrets and techniques of the masters in drawing, oil painting, frescoes, panel painting, gilding, casting, more. Direct link to artists of the Middle Ages. Translation, introduction by D. V. Thompson. "delightful flavor..." — N.Y. Herald Tribune.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486136622
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 4/2/2012
  • Series: Dover Art Instruction
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 142
  • Sales rank: 1,232,045
  • File size: 2 MB

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The Craftman's Handbook



Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1960 Daniel V. Thompson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-13662-2



In the beginning, when Almighty God created heaven and earth, above all animals and foods he created man and woman in his own image, endowing them with every virtue. Then, because of the misfortune which fell upon Adam, through envy, from Lucifer, who by his malice and cunning beguiled him — or rather, Eve, and then Eve, Adam — into sin against the Lord's command: because of this, therefore, God became angry with Adam, and had him driven, him and his companion, forth out of Paradise, saying to them: 'Inasmuch as you have disobeyed the command which God gave you, by your struggles and exertions you shall carry on your lives.' And so Adam, recognizing the error which he had committed, after being so royally endowed by God as the source, beginning, and father of us all, realized theoretically that some means of living by labor had to be found. And so he started with the spade, and Eve, with spinning. Man afterward pursued many useful occupations, differing from each other; and some were, and are, more theoretical than others; they could not all be alike, since theory is the most worthy. Close to that, man pursued some related to the one which calls for a basis of that, coupled with skill of hand: and this is an occupation known as painting, which calls for imagination, and skill of hand, in order to discover things not seen, hiding themselves under the shadow of natural objects, and to fix them with the hand, presenting to plain sight what does not actually exist. And it justly deserves to be enthroned next to theory, and to be crowned with poetry. The justice lies in this: that the poet, with his theory, though he have but one, it makes him worthy, is free to compose and bind together, or not, as he pleases, according to his inclination. In the same way, the painter is given freedom to compose a figure, standing, seated, half-man, half-horse, as he pleases, according to his imagination. So then, either as a labor of love for all those who feel within them a desire to understand; or as a means of embellishing these fundamental theories with some jewel, that they may be set forth royally, without reserve; offering to these theories whatever little understanding God has granted me, as an unimportant practicing member of the profession of painting: I, Cennino, the son of Andrea Cennini of Colle di Val d'Elsa, — (I was trained in this profession for twelve years by my master, Agnolo di Taddeo of Florence; he learned this profession from Taddeo, his father; and his father was christened under Giotto, and was his follower for four-and-twenty years; and that Giotto changed the profession of painting from Greek back into Latin, and brought it up to date; and he had more finished craftsmanship than anyone has had since), — to minister to all those who wish to enter the profession, I will make note of what was taught me by the aforesaid Agnolo, my master, and of what I have tried out with my own hand; first invoking <the aid of> High Almighty God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; then <of> that most delightful advocate of all sinners, Virgin Mary; and of Saint Luke, the Evangelist, the first Christian painter; and of my advocate, Saint Eustace; and, in general, of all the Saints of Paradise, AMEN.



It is not without the impulse of a lofty spirit that some are moved to enter this profession, attractive to them through natural enthusiasm. Their intellect will take delight in drawing, provided their nature attracts them to it of themselves, without any master's guidance, out of loftiness of spirit. And then, through this delight, they come to want to find a master; and they bind themselves to him with respect for authority, undergoing an apprenticeship in order to achieve perfection in all this. There are those who pursue it, because of poverty and domestic need, for profit and enthusiasm for the profession too; but above all these are to be extolled the ones who enter the profession through a sense of enthusiasm and exaltation.



You, therefore, who with lofty spirit are fired with this ambition, and are about to enter the profession, begin by decking yourselves with this attire: Enthusiasm, Reverence, Obedience, and Constancy. And begin to submit yourself to the direction of a master for instruction as early as you can; and do not leave the master until you have to.



The basis of the profession, the very beginning of all these manual operations, is drawing and painting. These two sections call for a knowledge of the following: how to work up or grind, how to apply size, to put on cloth, to gesso, to scrape the gessos and smooth them down, to model with gesso, to lay bole, to gild, to burnish; to temper, to lay in; to pounce, to scrape through, to stamp or punch; to mark out, to paint, to embellish, and to varnish, on panel or ancona. To work on a wall you have to wet down, to plaster, to true up, to smooth off, to draw, to paint in fresco. To carry to completion in secco: to temper, to embellish, to finish on the wall. And let this be the schedule of the aforesaid stages which I, with what little knowledge I have acquired, will expound, section by section.


Excerpted from The Craftman's Handbook by CENNINO D'ANDREA CENNINI, DANIEL V. THOMPSON JR.. Copyright © 1960 Daniel V. Thompson. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

I The first chapter of the first section of this book
II "How some enter the profession through loftiness of spirit, and some, for profit"
III Fundamental provisions for anyone who enters this profession
IIII How the schedule shows you into how many sections and branches the occupations are divided
V How you begin drawing on a little panel; and the system for it
VI How to draw on several kinds of panels
VII What kind of bone is good for treating the panels
VIII "How you should start drawing with a style, and by what light"
VIIII "How you should give the system of lighting, light or shade, to your figures, endowing them with a system of relief"
X "The method and system for drawing on sheep parchment and on paper, and shading with washes"
XI How you may draw with a leaden style
XII "How, if you have made a slip in drawing with leaden style, you my erase it, and by what means"
XIII How you should practice drawing with a pen
XIIII How to learn to cut the quill for drawing
XV How you should advance to drawing on tinted paper
XVI How the green tint is made on paper for drawing; and the way to temper it
XVII "How you should tint kid parchment, and by which method you burnish it"
XVIII How you should tint paper turnsole color
XVIIII How you should tint paper with an indigo tint
XX "How you should tint papers with reddish color, or almost peach color"
XXI How you should tint papers with flesh color
XXII "How you should tint papers greenish gray, or drab"
XXIII How you may obtain the essence of a good figure or drawing with tracing paper
XXIIII The first way to learn how to make a clear tracing paper
XXV A second way to make tracing paper: with glue
XXVI How to make tracing paper out of paper
XXVII How you should endeavor to copy and draw after as few masters as possible
XXVIII How you should regulate your life in the interests of decorum and the condition of your hand; and in what company; and what method you should first adopt for copying a figure from high up
XXX "How you should first start drawing on paper with charcoal, and take the measurement of the figure, and fix it with a silver style"
XXXI "How you should draw and shade with washes on tinted paper, and then put lights on with white lead"
XXXII How you may put on lights with washes of white lead just as you shade with washes of ink
XXXIII How to make good and perfect and slender coals for drawing
XXXIIII About a stone which has the character of charcoal for drawing. This ends the first section of this book
XXXV The second section of this book: bringing you to the working up of the colors
XXXVI "This shows you the natural colors, and how you should grind black"
XXXVII How to make various sorts of black
XXXVIII On the character of the red color called sinoper
XXXVIIII "How to make the red called cinabrese, for doing flesh on the wall; and about its character"
XL On the character of the red called vermilion; and how it should be worked up
XLI On the character of a red called red lead
XLII On the character of a red called hematite
XLIII On the character of a red called dragonsblood
XLIIII On the character of a red called lac
XLV On the character of a yellow color called ocher
XLVI On the character of a yellow color called giallorino
XLVII On the character of a yellow called orpiment
XLVIII On the character of a yellow called realgar
XLVIIII On the character of a yellow called saffron
L On the character of a yellow called arzica
LI On the character of a green called terre-verte
LII On the character of a green called malachite
LIII How you make a green with orpiment and indigo
LIIII How you make a green with blue and giallorino
LV How you make a green with ultramarine blue
LVI On the character of a green called verdigris
LVII How you make a green with white lead and terre-verte; or lime white
LVIII On the character of lime white
LVIIII On the character of white lead
LX On the character of azurite
LXI To make an imitation of azurite with other colors
LXII "On the character of ultramarine blue, and how to make it"
LXIII The importance of knowing how to make brushes
LXIIII How to make minever brushes
LXV "How you should make bristle brushes, and in what manner"
LXVI How to keep minever tails from getting moth-eaten. This ends the second section of this book; begins the third
LXVII "The method and system for working on a wall, that is, in fresco; and on painting and doing flesh for a youthful face"
LXVIII The method for painting an aged face in fresco
LXVIIII The method for painting various kinds of beards and hair in fresco
LXX The proportions which a perfectly formed man's body should possess
LXXI The way to paint a drapery in fresco
LXXII The way to paint on a wall in secco; and the temperas for it
LXXIII How to make a violet color
LXXIIII To execute a violet color in fresco
LXXV To try to imitate an ultramarine blue for use in fresco
LXXVII To paint a shot green drapery in fresco
LXXVIII To paint in fresco a drapery shot with ash gray
LXXVIIII To paint one in secco shot with lac
LXXX To paint one in fresco or in secco shot with each other
LXXXI To paint a greenish-gray costume in fresco or in secco
LXXXII "To paint a costume, in fresco and in secco, of a greenish-gray color like the color of wood"
LXXXIII "To make a drapery, or a mantle for Our Lady, with azurite or ultramarine blue"
LXXXIIII "To make a black drapery for a monk's or friar's robe, in fresco and in secco"
LXXXV "On the way to paint a mountain, in fresco or in secco"
LXXXVI "The way to paint trees and plants and foliage, in fresco and in secco"
LXXXVII "How buildings are to be painted, in fresco and in secco"
LXXXVIII The way to copy a mountain from nature. This ends the third section of this book
LXXXVIIII "How to paint in oil on a wall, on panel, on iron, and where you please"
LXXXX How you should start for working in oil on a wall
LXXXXI "How you are to make oil, good for a tempera, and also for mordants, by boiling with fire"
LXXXXII How good and perfect oil is made by cooking in the sun
LXXXXIII "How you should work up the colors with oil, and employ them on the wall"
LXXXXIIII "How you should work in oil on iron, on panel, on stone"
LXXXXV The way to embellish with gold or with tin on a wall
LXXXXVI How you should always make a practice of working with fine gold and with good colors
LXXXXVII "How you should cut the golden tin, and embellish"
LXXXXVIII How to make green tin for embellishing
LXXXXVIIII "How to make the golden tin, and how to lay fine gold with this vermeil"
C "How to fashion or cut out the stars, and put them on the wall"
CI How you can make the diadems of the saints on the wall with this tin gilded with fine gold
CII How you should model up a diadem in lime mortar on a wall
CIII How from the wall you enter upon panel-painting. This ends the fourth section of the book
CIIII The system by which you should prepare to acquire the skill to work on panel
CV How you make batter or flour paste
CVI How you should make cement from mending stones
CVII How to make cement for mending dishes of glass
CVIII "How fish glue is used, and how it is tempered"
CVIIII "How goat glue is made, and how it is tempered; and how many purposes it will serve"
CX A perfect size for tempering gessos for anconas or panels
CXI A size which is good for tempering blues and other colors
CXII To make a glue out of lime and cheese. This ends the fifth section of this book
CXIII How you should start to work on a panel or anconas
CXIIII How you should put cloth on a panel
CXV How the flat of a panel should be gessoed with the slice with gesso grosso
CXVI How to gesso sottile for gessoing panels
CXVII How to gesso an ancona with gesso sottile; and how to temper it
CXVIII How you may gesso with gesso sottile without having gessoes with gesso grosso first
CXVIIII How you should temper and grind gesso sottile for modeling
CXX How you should start to scrape down an ancona flat gessoed with gesso sottile
CXXI "How the gesso sottile on the flats should be scraped down, and what these scrapings are good for"
CXXII "How to draw on panel with charcoal, to begin with, and to fix it with ink"
CXXIII How you should mark out the outlines of the figures for gilding the grounds
CXXIIII "How to model on a panel with gesso sottile, and how to mount precious stones"
CXXV How you should cast a relief for embellishing areas of anconas
CXXVI How to plaster reliefs on a wall
CXXVII How to model with mortar on a wall the say you model with gesso on panel
CXXVIII "How to take reliefs from a stone mold, and how they are good on wall and on panel"
CXXVIIII How you may model on a wall with varnish
CXXX How you may model on a wall with wax
CXXXI "How to lay bole on panel, and how to temper it"
CXXXII "Another way to temper bole on panel, for gilding"
CXXXIII How you may gild on panel with terre-verte
CXXXIIII How to gild on panel
CXXXV What stones are good for burnishing this gilding
CXXXVI How to prepare the stone for burnishing gold
CXXXVII "How you should burnish the gold, or mend matters in case it could not get burnished"
CXXXVIII "Now I will show you how to burnish, and in what direction, especially a flat"
CXXXVIIII "What gold is good for burnish and mordant gilding, and what thickness"
CXL "How you should begin swinging the diadems and do stamping on the gold, and mark out the outlines of the figures"
CXLI How to design gold brocades in various colors
CXLII How to execute gold or silver brocades
CXLIII Several rules for cloths of gold and silver
CXLIV "How to do velvet, wool, and silk"
CXLV How to paint on panel
CXLVI How to make draperies in blue and purple
CXLVII How to paint faces
CXLVIII How to paint a dead man
CXLVIX How to paint wounds
CL How to paint water
CLI "A short section on mordant gilding. How to make a standard mordant, and how to gild with it"
CLII How to control the drying of the mordant
CLIII How to make a mordant out of garlic
CLIV Introduction to a short section on varnishing
CLV When to varnish
CLVI How to make a painting look as if it were varnished
CLVII "A short section on illuminating: first, how to gild on parchment"
CLVIII Another kind of size: for grounds only
CLIX How to make and use mosaic gold
CLX How to grind gold and silver for use as colors
CLXI Colors for use on parchment
CLXII "A section dealing with work on cloth: first, painting and gilding"
CLXIII Various ways to do hangings
CLXIV How to draw for embroiderers
CLXV "How to work on silk, on both sides"
CLXVI How to paint and gild on velvet
CLXVII How to lay gold and silver on woolen cloth
CLXVIII How to make devices out of gilded paper
CLXIX How to model crests or helmets
CLXX How to do caskets or chests
CLXXI "A short section on operations with glass: first, for windows"
CLXXII How to gild for reliquary ornaments
CLXXII Arrangements for drawing on this glass
CLXXII How to draw on the gilded glass
CLXXII How to scrape the gold off the backgrounds
CLXXII How to back up the drawing with colors
CLXXII "Part of a section dealing with mosaic: first, a fragment from the end of a chapter otherwise lost"
CLXXII Mosaic of quill cuttings
CLXXII "Mosaic of crushed eggshells, painted"
CLXXII Mosaic of paper or foil
CLXXII "Mosaic of eggshells, gilded"
CLXXIII "A section dealing with miscellaneous incidental operations: first, block printing on cloth"
CLXXIV How to gild a stone figure
CLXXV The dangers of a wet wall for fresco
CLXXV Preliminary precautions against moisture
CLXXV Waterproofing with boiled oil
CLXXVI Waterproofing with pitch
CLXXVI Waterproofing with liquid varnish
CLXXVII How to distemper inside walls with green
CLXXVIII How to varnish terre-verte
CLXXIX How to clean off the paint after you have made up a face
CLXXX The perils of indulgence in cosmetics
CLXXXI "The final section, devoted to methods of casting, begins here"
CLXXXII How to take a life mask
CLXXXIII The breathing tubes
CLXXXIV The operations of casting the matrix
CLXXXIV How to cast this waste mold
CLXXXV How to cast whole figures
CLXXXVI How to make a cast of your own person
CLXXXVII Castings in gesso for use on panel
CLXXXVIII How to cast medals
CLXXXIX How to make a mold from a seal or coin
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