Recipes

(c) Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, Ms. Germ. Fol. 244, f. 296v (detail)

In the medieval and early modern period, colour recipes specified instructions for the production of pigments, colourants, glues, media, inks and so on. In parallel to the physical descriptions of pigments and colourants, recipes provided information concerning optical characteristics, conservation, (in)compatibility with other sorts of materials and information regarding a material’s ageing properties. Some of these texts also describe the preparation of supports, the application of various layers of paint, suitable mixtures, the use of gold in gilding or how to produce an imitation. In addition, a number of recipes are dedicated to the production, refining or colouring of materials such as textiles, glass, metals, horn, stones and so on.

The database helps to assess how recipes were modified over time or by other external phenomena, through looking at factors such as frequency within the corpus, basic structure, and evolution. It is also possible to link the development of specific artistic procedures and technical traditions, and to correlate these with more widely diffused techniques.