Making and Knowing
A minimal edition of BnF Ms Fr 640 in English Translation

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Good crayons are not made with glue but with women’s milk.

Images made of card have to be dipped in some very fine and clarified melted rosin once they have dried. This strengthens them or they will turn flaccid in wet weather.

Venice masks are made with a molding hollow and the face covered with copper.

The Flemish do not use other white colors for oil painted skin colors after some white lead for the ceruse turns them yellow.

The 4 or 5 years old and clear nut oil is the best anti—dust color. The one slowly squeezed from the press similar to almond oil is white even if the nuts’ skin is peeled off.

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You must make at least three layers of flesh color in order to paint faces in oil. And to begin, one places the black and shadow where it is appropriate. After, the highlighting with lead white must not be placed on the black. Flesh colors and [missing word] containing ceruse will yellow in five or six months, but lead white does not change.

Florence lake is better than lake from Flanders because in Florence they make the best dyes. To make a beautiful flesh color, the reddest and brightest lake is the best, because those that are purple and violet as a result of the addition of too much alum look like the flesh of someone that is very cold. That is why women who want to color their cheeks crush Florence lake very finely, then fill a little cotton with it, which they then wrap in a little fine cambric. And thus they rub the lake on their cheeks and then, with another clean cotton, they soften it.

Crystallin having been crushed in water appears to have body, but in oil it does not have any. It is crushed with lake and with bitumen, which would not dry for a very long time otherwise.

Aspic oil is commonly put with lead white, not entirely pure but mixed with a little walnut oil. The said aspic oil will not be good for lake and colors that do not have body because it will make them crack, but with those that have body and are somewhat greasy, it is quite appropriate.

Verdigris and orpiment must be first crushed with urine rather than thinned with oil. Thus they are beautiful and do not fade.