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On Divers Arts

The Foremost Medieval Treatise on Painting, Glassmaking, and Metalwork
On Divers Arts
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Dover Pubns

"I have made it my concern to hunt out this technique for your study as I learned it by looking and listening." On Divers Arts, c. 1122, is the oldest extant manual on artistic crafts to be written by a practicing artist. Before Theophilus, manuscripts on the arts came from scholars and philosophers standing outside the actual profession. On Divers Arts describes actual 12th-century techniques in painting, glass, and metalwork, which the Benedictine author wished to pass on to those gifted by God with a talent for making beautiful things.
Theophilus teaches, with rigorous attention to fact but also with great reverence the making of pigments for fresco painting, the manufacture of glue, the technique of gold leaf on parchment (the first recorded European reference to true paper), how to blow glass and design stained glass windows, how to fashion gold and silver chalices, and how to make a pipe organ and church bells. Precise instruction on enameling, chasing, repoussé, niello, and beaded wire work prove Theophilus's first-hand knowledge of his craft.
While 90 percent of Theophilus's writing is sound technical knowledge, medieval folk lore occasionally spices his text: "Tools are also made harder by hardening them in the urine of a small red-headed boy than by doing so in plain water." But the magnificent fact of On Divers Art remains its status as the first technical treatise on painting, glass, and metalwork, for which actual specimens still survive. The editors have taken care to ensure both philological and technological accuracy for this authoritative edition of a medieval classic, a manual of great importance to craftsmen, historians of art and science, and all who delight in the making of the beautiful.


First printed in the 12th century, here is the earliest treatise on the arts written by a practicing artist. The Benedictine author details pigments, glass blowing, stained glass, gold and silver work, and more 34 illustrations.


Authors: Theophilus, Presbyter, active 12th century
Statement of Responsibility: Theophilus ; translated from the Latin with introd. and notes by John G. Hawthorne and Cyril Stanley Smith
Title: On divers arts
the foremost medieval treatise on painting, glassmaking, and metalwork
Publisher: New York : Dover Publications, c1979
Characteristics: xxxv, 216 p., [16] leaves of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
Notes: "An unabridged and corrected republication of the work originally published in 1963 by the University of Chicago Press."
Translation of: De diversis artibus
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 195-200
Subject Headings: Technology Early works to 1800 Christian art and symbolism Medieval, 500-1500 Early works to 1800 Art Early works to 1800
Topical Term: Technology
Christian art and symbolism
Art
Additional Contributors: Smith, Cyril Stanley 1903-
Hawthorne, John G.
LCCN: 78074298
ISBN: 0486237842
Branch Call Number: 700 T
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