Notebook, 1993-

Il Libro dell' Arte - Cennino D' Andrea Cennini. The Craftsman's Handbook. The Italian "Il Libro dell' Arte." Translated by Daniel V. Thompson, Jr. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1933, by Yale University Press.

Notes 1-50   Notes 51-124   Notes 125-162   Notes 163-283

First Section - (c o n t.)

How You Should Tint Paper With An Indigo Tint.
Chapter XVIIII
The indigo tint. Take the number of sheets mentioned above; take half an ounce of white lead, and the size of two beans of Bagdad [p. 11] indigo[13]; And grind them together thoroughly, for thorough grinding will not spoil the tint. Temper it with your tempera as described above.

How You Should Tint Papers with Reddish Color, or Almost Peach Color.
Chapter XX
If you wish to tint with a reddish color, take, for the number of sheets mentioned above, half an ounce of terre-verte; the size of two beans of coarse white lead; and as much as one bean of light sinoper.[14] Grind in the usual way; and so temper it with your size or tempera.

How You Should Tint Papers with Flesh Color.
Chapter XXI
Likewise, to make the tint a good flesh color, you should take, for the number of sheets mentioned, half an ounce of coarse white lead; and less than a bean of vermilion. And you should grind everything together; and temper in the regular way described above.

How you should Tint Papers Greenish Gray, Or Drab.
Chapter XXII
You will make a greenish gray, or drab, in this manner. First take a quarter of an ounce of coarse white lead; the size of a bean of light ocher; less than half a bean of black. Grind these things well together in the regular way. Temper as I have taught you for the others, always putting in, for each batch, at least as much as a bean of calcined bone. And this must suffice you for papers tinted in various ways. [p. 12]

How you May Obtain the Essence of a Good Figure or Drawing with Tracing Paper.
Chapter XXIII
You should be aware[15] that there is also a paper known as tracing paper which may be very useful to you. To copy a head, or a figure, or a half figure, as you find it attractive[16], by the hand of the great masters, and to get the outlines right, from paper, panel, or wall, which you want to take right off, put this tracing paper over the figure or drawing, fastening it nicely at the four corners with a little red or green wax. Because of the transparency of the tracing paper, the figure or drawing underneath immediately shows through, in such shape and manner that you see it clearly. Then take either a pen cut quite fine or a fine brush of fine minever; and you may proceed to pick out with ink the outlines and accents of the drawing underneath; and in general to touch in shadows as far as you can see to do it. And then, lifting off the paper, you may touch it up with any high lights and reliefs, as you please.

The First Way to Learn How to Make a Clear Tracing Paper.
Chapter XXIIII
If you do not find any ready-made, you will need to make some of this tracing paper in this way. Take a kid parchment and give it to a parchment worker; and have it scraped so much that it barely holds together. And have him take care to scrape it evenly. It is transparent of itself. If you want it more transparent, take some clear and fine linseed oil; and smear it with some of this oil on a piece of cotton. Let it dry thoroughly, for the space of several days; and it will be perfect and good. [p. 13]

A Second Way to Make Tracing Paper: With Glue.
Chapter XXV
If you want to make this tracing paper in another way, take a good smooth slab of marble or porphyry. Then get some fish glue and some leaf glue, which the druggists sell. Put them to soak in clear water, and arrange to have one porringerful of clear water to six leaves. Then boil it until it is all melted, and after boiling strain it two or three times. Then take this size, all strained, melted, and warm, and a brush; and lay it on these slabs just the way you tint tinted papers. The slabs must be clean; and they should be greased with olive oil previously. And when this size which is laid on them has dried, take the point of a penknife, and start to pry this size far enough away from the slab here and there for you to get a grip on the skin or paper thus formed. And work cautiously, so as to pry this skin off the slab in the form of a paper, without damaging it. And if you want to find this skin or paper [more durable][17] before you pry it off the slab, take some linseed oil, boiled the way I shall teach you for mordants; and with a soft brush lay a coat of it all over. And let it dry for two or three days, and it will be good tracing paper.

How to make Tracing Paper out of Paper.
Chapter XXVI
This same tracing paper which we have been discussing may be made out of paper, the paper, to begin with, being made very thin, smooth, and quite white. Then grease this paper with linseed oil, as described above. It becomes transparent, and it is good.

How you Should Endeavor to Copy and Draw After as Few masters as Possible
Chapter XXVII
Now you must forge ahead again, so that you may pursue the course of this theory. You have made your tinted papers; the next thing is to draw. You should adopt this method. Having first practiced [p. 14] drawing for a while as I have taught you above, that is, on a little panel, take pains and pleasure in constantly copying the best things which you can find done by the hand of great masters. And if you are in a place where many good masters have been, so much the better for you. But I give you this advice: take care to select the best one every time, and the one who has the greatest reputation. And, as you go on from day to day, it will be against nature if you do not get some grasp of his style and of his spirit. For if you undertake to copy after one master today and after another one tomorrow, you will not acquire the style of either one or the other, and you will inevitably, through enthusiasm, become capricious, because each style will be distracting your mind. You will try to work in this man's way today, and in the other's tomorrow, and so you will not get either of them right. If you follow the course of one man through constant practice, your intelligence would have to be crude indeed for you not to get some nourishment from it. Then you will find, if nature has granted you any imagination at all, that you will eventually acquire a style individual to yourself, and it cannot help being good; because your hand and your mind, being always accustomed to gather flowers, would ill know how to pluck thorns.

How, Beyond Masters, You Should Constantly Copy from Nature with Steady Practice.
Chapter XXVIII
Mind you, the most perfect steersman that you can have, and the best helm, lie in the triumphal gateway[18] of copying from nature. And this outdoes all other models; and always rely on this with a stout heart, especially as you begin to gain some judgment in draftsmanship. Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is it will be well worth while, and will do you a world of good. [p. 15]

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 .
Your life should always be arranged just as if you were studying theology, or philosophy, or other theories, that is to say, eating and drinking moderately, at least twice a day, electing digestible and wholesome dishes, and light wines; saving and sparing your hand, preserving it from such strains as heaving stones, crowbar[19], and many other things which are bad for your hand, from giving them a chance to weary it. There is another cause which, if you indulge it, can make your hand so unsteady that it will waver more, and flutter far more, than leaves do in the wind, and this is indulging too much in the company of woman. Let us get back to our subject. Have a sort of pouch made of pasteboard[20], or just thin wood, made large enough in every dimension for you to put in a royal folio, that is, a half; and this is good for you to keep your drawings in, and likewise to hold the paper on for drawing. Then always go out alone, or in such company as will be inclined to do as you do, and not apt to disturb you. And the more understanding this company displays, the better it is for you. When you are in churches or chapels, and beginning to draw, consider, in the first place, from what section you think you wish to copy a scene or figure; and notice where its darks and half tones and high lights come; and this means that you have to apply your shadow with washes of ink; to leave the natural ground in the half tones; and to apply the high lights with white lead. [p. 16]

How you Should First Start Drawing on Paper with Charcoal, and Take the Measurement of the Figure, and Fix it with a Silver Style.
Chapter XXX
First take the charcoal, slender, and sharpened like a pen, or like your style; and, as the prime measurement which you adopt for drawing, adopt one of the three which the face has, for it has three of them altogether: the forehead, the nose, and the chin, including the mouth. And if you adopt one of these, it serves you as a standard for the whole figure, for the buildings and from one figure to another; and it is a perfect standard for you provided you use your judgment in estimating how to apply these measurements.[21] And the reason for doing this is that the scene or figure will be too high up for you to reach it with your hand to measure it off. You have to be guided by judgment; and if you are so guided, you will arrive at the truth. And if the proportion of your scene or figure does not come out right at the first go , take a feather, and rub with the barbs of this feather--chicken or goose, as may be--and sweep the charcoal off what you have drawn. That drawing will disappear. And keep starting it over from the beginning until you see that your figure agrees in proportion with the model. And then, when you feel that it is about right, take the silver style and go over the outlines and accents of your drawings, and over the dominant folds, to pick them out. When you have got this done, take the barbed feather once more, and sweep the charcoal off thoroughly; and your drawing will remain, fixed by the style.

How You should Draw and Shade with Washes on Tinted Paper, and Then Put Lights on With White Lead.
Chapter XXXI
When you have mastered the shading, take a rather blunt brush; and with a wash of ink in a little dish proceed to mark out the course of the dominant folds with this brush; and then proceed to blend the dark part of the fold, following its course. And this wash ought to be [p. 17] practically like water, just a little tinted, and the brush ought to be almost always practically dry. Without trying to hurry, go on shading little by little, always going back with this brush into the darkest areas. Do you know what will come of it? --If this water is just a little tinted, and you shade with enjoyment, and without hurrying, you will get your shadows well blended, just like smoke. Remember always to work with the flat of the brush. When you have gone as far as you can with this shading, take a drop or two of ink and put it into this wash, and mix it up well with this brush. And then in the same way pick out the very bottoms of those folds with this brush, picking out their foundations carefully; always remembering your shading, that is, to divide into three sections: one section, shadow; the next, the color of your ground; the next, with lights put on it. When you have got this done, take a little white lead well worked up with gum Arabic. [I will explain this to you later on, how this gum is to be dissolved and melted: and I will explain about all the temperas.] Ever so little white lead in the little dish, especially if this is dried up. Then dress it on the back of your hand or your thumb, shaping and squeezing out this brush, and getting it empty, practically draining it. And begin rubbing the brush flat over and into the areas where the high light and relief are to come; and proceed to go over them many times with your brush, and handle it judiciously. Then, for the accents of the reliefs, in the greatest prominence, take a pointed brush, and touch in with white lead with the tip of this brush, and crisp up the tops of these high lights. Then proceed to crisp up with a small brush, with straight ink, marking out the folds, the outlines, noses, eyes, and the divisions in the hairs and beards.

How You may Put on Lights with Washes of White Lead Just as You Shade with Washes of Ink.
Chapter XXXII
I advise you, furthermore, when you get to be more experienced, to try to put on lights perfectly with a wash, just as you do the wash of [p. 18] ink. Take white lead ground with water, and temper it with yolk of egg; and it blends like an ink wash, but it is harder for you to handle, and more experience is needed. All this is known as drawing on tinted paper, and it is the path to lead you to the profession of painting. Follow it constantly as much as you can, for it is the essence of your study. Apply yourself to it enthusiastically, and with great enjoyment and pleasure.

How to Make Good and Perfect and Slender Coals for Drawing.
Chapter XXXIII
Before going any farther, I want to show you in what fashion you should make the coals for drawing. Take a nice, dry, willow stick; and make some little slips of it the length of the palm of your hand, or, say, four fingers. Then divide these pieces like match sticks; and do them up like a bunch of matches. But first smooth them and sharpen them at each end, like spindles. Then tie them up in bunches this way, in three places to the bunch, that is, in the middle and at each end, with a thin copper or iron wire. Then take a brand-new casserole, and put in enough of them to fill up the casserole. Then get a lid to cover it, [luting it] with clay,[22] so that nothing can evaporate from it in any way. Then go to the baker's in the evening, after he has stopped work, and put this casserole into the oven; and let it stay there until morning; and see whether these coals are well roasted, and good and black. If you find that they are not roasted enough, you must put the casserole back into the oven, for them to get roasted. How are you to tell whether they are all right? --Take some of these coals and draw on some plain or tinted paper, or on a gessoed panel or ancona. And if you find that the charcoal takes, it is all right; and if it is roasted too much, it does not hold together in drawing, but breaks into many pieces. I will also give you another method for making these coals: take a little earthenware baking pan, covered as described above; put it under the fire in the evening, and cover this fire well with ashes; and go to bed. In the morning they will be roasted. And you may [p. 19] make big coals and little ones in the same way; and make them to suit yourself, for there are no better coals anywhere.

About a Stone Which has the Character of Charcoal for Drawing.
Ends the First Section of This Book.
Also for drawing. I have come across a certain black stone, which comes from Piedmont; this is a soft stone; and it can be sharpened with a penkinife, for it is soft. It is very black. And you can bring it to the same perfection as charcoal. And draw as you want to. [p. 20]



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