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

Fifth Section

The System by Which you Should Prepare to Acquire the Skill to Work on Panel.
Chapter CIIII

Know that there ought not to be less time spent in learning than this: to begin as a shopboy studying for one year, to get practice in drawing on the little panel; next, to serve in a shop under some master to learn how to work at all the branches which pertain to our [p. 65] profession; and to stay and begin the working up of colors; and to learn to boil the sizes, and grind the gessos; and to get experience in gessoing anconas, and modeling and scraping them; gilding and stamping; for the space of a good six years. Then to get experience in painting, embellishing with mordants, making cloths of gold, getting practice in working on the wall, for six more years; drawing all the time, never leaving off, either on holidays or on workdays.[98] And in this way your talent, through much practice, will develop into real ability. Otherwise, if you follow other systems, you need never hope that they will reach any high degree of perfection. For there are many who say that they have mastered the profession without having served under masters. Do not believe it, for I give you the example of this book: even if you study it by day and by night, if you do not see some practice under some master you will never amount to anything, nor will you ever be able to hold your head up in the company of masters.

Beginning to work on panel, in the name of Most Holy Trinity: always invoking that name and that of the Glorious Virgin Mary.

How you Make Batter or Flour Paste
Chapter CV

To begin with we have to make . . .,[99] that is; and they are known as various sorts of size. There is one size which is made of cooked batter, and it is good for parchment workers and masters who make books; and it is good for pasting parchments together, and also for fastening tin to parchment. We sometimes need it for pasting up parchments to make stencils. This size is made as follows. Take a pipkin almost full of clear water; get it quite hot. When it is about to boil, take some well-sifted flour; put it into the pipkin little by little, stirring constantly with a stick or a spoon. Let it boil, and do not get it too thick. Take it out; put it into a porringer. If you want to keep it from going bad, put in some salt; and so use it when you need it. [p. 65]

How You Should Make Cement for Mending Stones.
Chapter CVI

There is a cement which is good for mending stones: and this one is made of mastic, fresh wax, sifted pounded stone; and then all melted up thoroughly together on the fire. Take your broken stone, and warm it well; put some of this cement on it. It will last forever, in the wind; and in water if you were to mend sharpening or grinding wheels, or millstones, with it.

How to Make Cement for Mending Dishes or Glass.
Chapter CVII

And there is a cement which is good for mending glasses, or hourglasses, or any other fine dishes of Damascus or Majorca which might be broken. To make this cement, take liquid varnish, a little white lead and verdigris. Put into them some of the same color as the glass: if it is blue, put in a little indigo; if it is green, let that verdigris predominate, and sic de singulis. And then work these ingredients up together very finely. Take the pieces of your broken dishes or goblets, and, even if they are in a thousand fragments, fit them together, putting this cement on them thinly. Let it dry for a few months in the sun and wind; and you will find these dishes stronger, and more fit to stand water,[100] where they are broken than where they are whole.

How Fish Glue is Used, and How it is Tempered.
Chapter CVIII

There is a glue which is known as fish glue. This glue is made from various kinds of fish. If you put the little piece, or leaf, in your mouth, just as it is, until it gets a little wet, and rub it on sheep parchments or other parchments, this fastens them together very securely. To dissolve it. . . .[101] It is good and excellent for mending lutes and other [p. 66] fine paper, wooden, or bone objects. When you put it on the fire, put in half a goblet of clear water for each leaf.

How Goat Glue is Made, and How it is Tempered; And How many Purposes it will Serve.
Chapter CVIIII

And there is a glue which is known as leaf glue; this is made out of clippings of goats' muzzles, feet, sinews, and many clippings of skins. This glue is made in March or January, during those strong frosts or winds; and it is boiled with clear water until it is reduced to less than a half.[102] Then put it into certain flat dishes, like jelly molds or basins, straining it thoroughly. Let it stand overnight. Then, in the morning, cut it with a knife into slices like bread; put it on a mat to dry in the wind, out of the sunlight; and an ideal glue will result. This glue is used by painters, by saddlers, and by ever so many masters, as I shall show you later on. And it is a good glue for wood, and for many things. We shall discuss it thoroughly, showing what it may be used for, and how, for gessos, for tempering colors, making lutes, tarsias, fastening pieces of wood and foliage ornament together, tempering gessos, doing raised gessos; and it is good for many things.

A Perfect Size for Tempering Gessos for Anconas or Panels.
Chapter CX

And there is a size which is made of the necks[103] of goat and sheep parchments, and clippings of these parchments; these are washed [p. 67] thoroughly, and put to soak a day before you put them on to boil. Boil it with clear water until the three parts are reduced to one. And when you have no leaf glue, I want you just to use this size for gessoing panels or anconas; for you cannot get any better one anywhere.

A Size Which is Good for Tempering Blues and Other Colors.
Chapter CXI

And there is a size which is made from the scrapings of goat or sheep parchment. Boil them with clear water until it is reduced to a third.[104] Know that it is a very clear[105] size, which looks like crystal. It is good for tempering dark blues. And apply a coat of this size in any place where you have happened to lay in colors which were not tempered sufficiently, and it will retemper the colors, and reinforce them, so that you may varnish them at will, if they are on panel; and blues on a wall the same way. And it would be good for tempering gessos, too; but it is lean in character, and it ought to be rather fat for any gesso which has to take gilding.[106]

To Make a Glue out of Lime and Cheese.
Chapter C XII

Ends the Fifth[107] Section of This Book.
There is a glue used by workers in wood; this is made of cheese. After putting it to soak in water, work it over with a little quicklime, using a little board with both hands. Put it between the boards; it joins them and fastens them together well. And let this suffice you for the making of various kinds of glue.



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