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

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Faces painted with distemper

Because colors painted with distemper dry quickly and one would not have enough time to complete the shadows and touches on the face, one wets the reverse of the face, on canvas, with a wet sponge. Then, with a small pinceau, one makes the shadows, which won’t come off. Next, one lays the flesh tones, which do not prevent the already painted shadows from appearing. And then, one retouches the more prominent areas with lively flesh tones. And with another pinceau one retouches the shadows in hatching. The shadow strokes do not come off because they are made of bister, which stains the canvas like rust. The said bister is good for making shadows with distemper, for in oil it has no body and would dry with great difficulty. One mixes ru ochre in the said bister for shadows with a little sap green. The best bister is the rich, shiny one from the fireplaces of large kitchens. It is difficult to grind and screeches on the marble slab.