January 19, 2007
Cennino’s Apprentice

creative perspectivesThis week I apprenticed myself to an Italian painter. He’s been dead for nearly 600 years.

Cennino Cennini wrote Il Libro dell’Arte about the techniques of the professional painting in the 14th century. It’s been translated into English (several times) and is known as The Craftsman’s Handbook. It covers topics from drawing to making castings. I am going to see if I can’t learn to be a Renaissance artist by following his instructions.

There’s a huge appeal in doing this. I feel my life is too digital and sometimes too ready-made. Working with 14th century materials is about as hands-on and basic as you can get. By the end of the project, I will have heaps of new knowledge (though how I will use my ability to mix cement for ceramics, I don’t know). And along the way, I’ll be creating all different kinds of things - from silverpoint drawings to paint brushes. It’s also a fun puzzle to translate from 14th century Italy’s culture, customs and materials into what’s available in 21st century Japan. I’ve already hit snags and I’m not even past the first step.

I’m documenting all of this as I go along on a new mediatinker site called Cennino’s Apprentice. You’re invited to have a look and to comment if you wish.

Posted by kuri at January 19, 2007 02:18 PM

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