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 to Preface

1. Giuseppe Tambroni, Di Cennino Cennini trattato della pittura, messo in luce la prima volta con annotazioni [Rome, 1821].

Carlo and Gaetano Milanesi, Il libro dell'arte o trattato della pittura, di Cennino Cennini da Colle Valdelsa; di nuovo pubblicato con molte correzioni e coll'aggiunta di più capitoli tratti dai codici fiorentini [Florence, 1859]. A considerable extract from this edition appears in Carlo Linzi, Tecnica della pittura e dei colori . . . [Milan: Hoeplil, 1930].

Renzo Simi, Cennino Cennini da Colle Valdelsa, Il libro dell'arte. Edizione riveduta e corretta sui codici [Lanciano: R. Carrabba, 1913].

Daniel V. Thompson, jr., ed., Cennino d'Andrea Cennini da Colle di Val d'Elsa, Il Libro dell'Arte [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1932], I, Italian Text. See the Preface of that volume, pp. ix-xiii, for an account of the prior editions of this work.

2. A Treatise on Painting, written by Cennino Cennini in the year 1437 [This is an error: see I, Preface, p. ix]; and first published in Italian in 1821, with an introduciton and notes, by Signor Tambroni: containing practical directions for painting in fresco, secco, oil, and distemper, with the art of gilding and illuminating manuscripts adopted by the old Italian masters. Translated by Mrs. [Mary Philadelphia] Merrifield. With an introductory preface, copious notes, and illustrations in outline from celebrated pictures [London, 1844].

3. Le Livre de l'art ou traité de la peinture par Cennino Cennini . . . traduit par Victor Mottez [Paris and Lille, 1858]. A later edition [Paris, 1911] was issued to include the chapters first published in 1859 by the Milanesi.

4. Cit. supra.

5. I, Preface, p. x.

6. Rome, Ottobonian MS 2974.

7. Florence, Biblioteca Mediceo-Laurenziana, MS 23, P. 78.

8. FLorence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, MS 2190.

9. Cit. supra. 10. Das Buch von der Kunst oder Tractat der Malerei des Cennino Cennini da Colle di Valdelsa. Übersetzt, mit Einleitung, Noten [ [most useful ones] und Register verschen . . . [Vienna, 1871].

11. The Book of the Art of Cennino Cennini, a contemporary practical treatise on quattrocento painting. TYranslated from the Italian, with notes on mediaeval art methods . . . [London, 1899]. The subtitle is based on the erroneous supposition that the Libro dell'Arte was composed in 1437: what Cennino describes is trecento painting of the Giottesque Gaddi tradition.

12. Ibid., Preface, p. v.

13. Des Cennino Cennini Handbüchlein der Kunst, neuübersetzt und herausgegeben . . . [Strassburg: Heitz, 1916].

14. Cit. supra, I.

15. Cit. supra.

16. Milanesi, ed. cit., p. 75; Herringham, op. cit., p. 95.

17. See I, 68, II. 17, 18.

18. See Herringham, op. cit., Preface, p. v.

19. References are to the chapter numbers of Lady Herringham's editdion, which are given in arabic numerals.

The Roman numerals used for chapter numbers in this volume are printed in the form in which they appear in the MSS, as that was adopted for the volume of text: the only peculiarities are the use of "IIII" for "IV," "VIIII" for "IX," "XXXX" for "XI," and "LXXXX" for "XC." It seems more important that numerals in this volume should correspond with those in Volume I than that the few affected by these peculiarities should be given the more familiar forms.

20. See below, p. 125.

21. See n. 3, pp. 61 ff., below. In general I have translated mettere d'oro as simply, "gild," except in one or two cases where the context requires a literal translation. This, I confess, is not for any fault in the expression, "lay with gold," but rather to throw into relief this very distinction between mettuto d'oro, "gilded," and dorato, "golden," vermeillonné.

22. See below, p. 112.

23. Ed. Herringham, Chapter 45.

24. Ibid., Chapter 51.

25. Ibid., Chapter 37.

26. Ibid., Chapter 37.

27. Ibid., Chapter 38.

28. See below, p. 1.

29. See n. 5, p. 39, below.

30. These equivalents are based on a braccio of twenty-three inches, and a spanna of nine.

31. See NED, s.v. "azure," 2: sub anno 1502.

32. That is, of course, barring downright slang; for the best translation of raffermare is "bake." I have often been inclined to use slang of this sort, and should have done so, but that fashions in it change so quickly. Some idioms almost defy translation without it. Among these is one much used to suggest progressive action: "Vá raffermando," "Vá toccando," etc. I have sometimes devised means to translate this, but usually a simple imperative has to serve. Much more like the original would be the studio slang: "Creep up on it, crisping it up"; and, "Come up on it with your accents."

33. See Tambroni, ed. cit., Preface, p. xvi.

34. See n. 1, p. 3, below.

35. See n. 2, p. 23, below.

36. Pasta is also used for "batter."

37. "Size," in English, is doubly ambiguous: apart from the idea of dimension, it is the word for a solution of glue or gelatine, and is also the only proper translation of the Italian assiso, in the sense of "gold size."

38. Carbone is also used by Cennino in the general sense of "crayon," black or white. [See I, 101, l. 9, and n. 2, p. 106, below.]

39. See below, p. I.

40. In addition to these minor defects, I suspect that at least one fairly considerable portion of Cennino's text is lost: the beginning of the section on mosaic-painting. See n. I, p. 114, below.

41. The last chapter heading in the MSS is that of CXL. Thereafter neither MS has any original headings or numbers. See I, 84, n. 1; and n. 5, p. 86, below.

42. See n. 6, above.

43. For an example of their misleading effect, see n. 1, p. 114, below.

44. I, Preface, p. xvi.

45. Parti. See I, 1, l. 12, etc.

46. See I, 66, l. 19.



The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only. The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without proper reference to Text, Author, Publisher, and Date of Publication [and page #s when suitable].