References of "Neven, Sylvie"
     in
Bookmark and Share    
Peer Reviewed
See detail"Colour ConText". A Database on Colour Practice and Colour Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe
Neven, Sylvie ULg; Clarke, Mark; Leonhard, Karin et al

in Dubois, Hélène; Eyb-Green, Sigrid; Kroustallis, Stephanos (Eds.) et al Making and transforming art : changes in artists’ materials and practice (in press)

Detailed reference viewed: 24 (2 ULg)
Peer Reviewed
See detailDescribing the ‘elusive’ : Availability, Preparation and Use of Anthocyanin Colourants in Mediaeval European Illuminators’ Workshops
Neven, Sylvie ULg; Sanyova, Jana

in Dubois, Hélène; Eyb-Green, Sigrid; Kroustallis, Stephanos (Eds.) et al Making and transforming art : changes in artists’ materials and practice (in press)

Anthocyanins are colorants which provide most of the blue, red and violet colours in numerous plants and fruits. Because of their great sensitivity to the slightest changes in pH and their instability in ... [more ▼]

Anthocyanins are colorants which provide most of the blue, red and violet colours in numerous plants and fruits. Because of their great sensitivity to the slightest changes in pH and their instability in ordinary daylight, it is generally thought that these colorants were used only to dye everyday clothes in a domestic context. However, medieval artists’ recipe books not only describe these elusive substances, but also indicate their use in illumination. This is notably the case for the texts of the so-called ‘Strasbourg Tradition’, written in the south of Germany and the north of France between 1400 and 1560, and partly composed from an older Alsatian treatise on illumination. Departing from these sources, this paper details the methods employed to prepare these colorants and (re)evaluates their diverse uses in painting and illuminating techniques. This technical data subsequently served as a basis upon which to make reconstructions. Finally, an attempt to correlate the information provided by these recipe books with specific artistic practices was carried out by collating the descriptions with the results of analyses from contemporary illuminations by an Alsatian workshop active in the same geographical area. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 23 (5 ULg)
Full Text
Peer Reviewed
See detailThe “Tuchlein” Colours in the Strasbourg Family Text: Recipes for Anthocyanin Pigments
Neven, Sylvie ULg; Sanyova, Jana

in Dyes in History and Archaeology (in press)

Detailed reference viewed: 15 (2 ULg)
See detailMaking and transforming art : changes in artists’ materials and practice
Neven, Sylvie ULg; Dubois, Hélène; Eyb-Green, Sigrid et al

Book published by Archetype Publications (in press)

Detailed reference viewed: 5 (0 ULg)
Peer Reviewed
See detailAlchemy and Art Technology in German Medieval and Early Modern Recipe Books
Neven, Sylvie ULg

in Dupré, Sven (Ed.) Laboratory of Art (2014)

In the Middle Ages and premodern period, artisanal knowledge was transmitted via collections of recipes often grouped concomitantly with alchemical texts and instructions. Except for some very well-known ... [more ▼]

In the Middle Ages and premodern period, artisanal knowledge was transmitted via collections of recipes often grouped concomitantly with alchemical texts and instructions. Except for some very well-known artistic treatises, such as those by Eraclius or the Schedula diversarum artium, attributed to Theophilus, detection and identification of alchemical content within recipe books has been rare and fraught with difficulty. In a broad sense, alchemy could be defined as the ‘art of transmutation’, referring to the perfection of base or impure matter (often metal or stone) into perfect substances. In this context, alchemical procedures rely on artisanal or craft practices. Thus, any overlap between alchemy and art-technological procedures can be explained by the use of various identical materials and substances. Both are concerned with the description of colours—especially in regard to processes of change, the making of pigments, the production of artificial gemstones, the imitation of gold and silver and the transmutation of materials. Both require procedures involving precise and specifically defined actions, prescriptions and ingredients. So both use identical rhetorical recipe formulations that reflect a ‘step by step’ procedure. Assuming that alchemical and artistic texts have the same textual format, raises the question: did they also have the same methods of production and reception? Using a corpus of about forty manuscripts produced in Northern Europe between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries, this paper investigates the authorship and the context of production behind these writings, and scrutinizes the process of their compilation and dissemination. This serves, on a variety of levels, to elucidate information about their former nature and use. Finally, this paper examines the various ways alchemical and artisanal recipes were embedded within recipe books. It also proposes some clues to help in locating, identifying and demarcating this type of alchemical writing within the literature of recipes. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 36 (11 ULg)
See detailColour ConText
Neven, Sylvie ULg

Textual, factual or bibliographical database (2014)

For several centuries, the literature of artists’ recipe books has been considered one of the most original and comprehensive primary sources for the historical study of artistic practices and materials ... [more ▼]

For several centuries, the literature of artists’ recipe books has been considered one of the most original and comprehensive primary sources for the historical study of artistic practices and materials. In addition to the famous Libro dell’arte of Cennino Cennini, nearly five hundred European manuscripts containing artistic recipes survive from before circa 1550. A great number of these are still unpublished and virtually unknown. Our work on a large corpus of recipe collections has generated the material for a database that facilitates consultation and exploitation of the source material.Current structure of the database The core data consists of mediaeval and pre-modern manuscripts and printed books from Northern and Southern Europe. The various layouts of the ‘Colour ConText’ database allow access to the metadata of the sources with details such as title, current location, place and date of origin, scribes or authors, previous owners, and description of any other (non-recipe) content. The database also allows access to digital images of these sources via European Cultural Heritage Online (ECHO) or via digital collections made available by external institutes, and to the transcription and translation of the recipe texts. Reference to primary and secondary sources, together with the related bibliographical data, is integrated throughout the database. To date, over 400 manuscripts have been considered and 4,500 recipes - some constituting only a few lines, others covering several folios - have been transcribed and recorded within the database. The database also includes a complete index of the ‘simples’ (substances mentioned as ingredients). Thus materials are indexed both by their current scientific name and by the terms exactly as they appear in the source texts. Each ingredient’s appellation is linked by relational tables to its contemporary and modern synonyms. This allows the retrieval of all the different appellations used for one ingredient – detailing the historical written context – but also the various ingredients that may be related to one ‘appellation’. A survey of artistic materials and techniques The database helps not only to observe the global frequency and recurrence of each ingredient and technical instruction, but also to deduce the availability of artistic material within a chronologically and geographically defined area. Many of these recipes can be used to identify specific, datable practices and materials, as compilers often specify the name and/or place of origin of the artists from whom they obtained their information. Information related to the historical provenance of the source material (obtained through codicological or philological analysis) has also been recorded within the database and may be used for that purpose. Moreover, it is possible to observe, through factors such as frequency within the corpus, basic structure, and evolution, how recipes were modified over time or by other external phenomena. It is also possible to link the development of specific artistic procedures and technical traditions, and to correlate these with more widely diffused techniques. Thus, recipe books allow us to study the geography, chronology, circulation and dissemination of artists’ knowledge. Colour material and terminology This project notably aims at considering and evaluating the importance and interest accorded to knowledge of the materials and substances used by artists and shared with other professionals (such as apothecaries), focusing on pigments and colouring material. For that purpose, other written sources related to colour will be included (notably texts on colour theory, on colour symbolism, on colour systems, on the pharmaceutical qualities of colours, etc.). In parallel to the physical descriptions of pigments and colourants, these written sources deliver information concerning their optical characteristics, conservation, (in)compatibility with other sorts of materials and their ageing properties. The diversity of colour denominations and the complexity of the varied technical terminology will be made transparent through a glossary of all the substances, ingredients, and their synonyms mentioned in the recipe books. Transmission of artists’ knowledge Such collections of recipes were often gathered in the same book with other subjects (such as theology, alchemy, botany or medicine) and these are also described within the database. The database also includes information concerning the provenance and circulation of these books outside the workshop. This allows other questions to be addressed - notably those related to the ownership and readership of collections of recipes. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 23 (2 ULg)
Peer Reviewed
See detailColour conText’ : a New Database of Artists’ Recipes
Neven, Sylvie ULg

Conference (2013)

Detailed reference viewed: 14 (3 ULg)
Peer Reviewed
See detailUses and misuses of alum in medieval and pre-modern artists’ recipe books
Neven, Sylvie ULg

Conference (2013)

During medieval and pre-modern times, potash alum was used for a variety of purposes in artistic and craft contexts. Alum was one of the most important chemical compounds involved in the dyeing of ... [more ▼]

During medieval and pre-modern times, potash alum was used for a variety of purposes in artistic and craft contexts. Alum was one of the most important chemical compounds involved in the dyeing of textiles and the manufacture of organic lakes, used in painting and illuminating techniques. Knowledge on the various uses and functions of alum can be gathered by the studying of collections of recipes, of which hundreds of examples have survived from the Middle Ages and the pre-modern period. This study is based on a corpus of 450 recipes books mostly produced in Northern Europe between the 14th and the end of the 16th century. Within these sources, alum is involved in a large field of technological procedures. It acts as a siccative agent in the preparation of oils and varnishes. It was employed in the making of glues, in the coloration and the treatment of various supports (bones, parchment, paper, wax, …), in the manufacture of pigments, such as verdigris, and the purification of ultramarine. This paper details the diversity of alum applications, as described within recipe books. It will notably focus on the varied roles played by alum in the preparation and conservation of a range of colorants which were typically preserved on small pieces of linen cloth and known under the appellation of ‘tüchlein’ colors. In addition, through these collections of recipes we learn that alum not only served for artisanal purposes but it was also used in alchemical, medical, pharmaceutical and house-economical contexts. For example, alum is cited within alchemical instructions, as being involved in the producing of artificial vermilion or in the tinting and gilding of metals. It was also used for imitating gold and silver, and notably employed in the production of aurum musicum. In parallel to this initial information, recipe books also provide us with data regarding the physical qualities of alum, the diverse states in which it was supplied and possible substitutes. They also deliver some clues concerning its various geographical provenances. Thus, these sources could serve to shed light on the multiple historical roles of alum but also help in accurately estimating its technical importance. Moreover, recipe books provide a source to investigate the multiplicity of alum appellations. Questions will be addressed such as: did these denominations reflect the plurality of uses of alum or were they related with the physical properties, quality grades or geographical origins of the alum product ? Finally this paper will try to establish the relevance of collections of recipes in reconstructing the history of alum. In so doing, it will consider how these sources can be related with other sort of historical sources and how they can illuminate each other. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 25 (4 ULg)
Peer Reviewed
See detailDescribing the “elusive”: a new perception of the practices and the resources of illuminators in the North of Europe from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century
Neven, Sylvie ULg

in Saunders, David; Spring, Marika; Meek, Andrew (Eds.) Renaissance Workshop (2013)

Due to their trade value, a huge range of artistic materials are documented and recorded in historical written sources. However, certain substances are not registered in these archives because they did ... [more ▼]

Due to their trade value, a huge range of artistic materials are documented and recorded in historical written sources. However, certain substances are not registered in these archives because they did not have a market value. This is especially the case for vegetal species which artists easily found in nature and used for their colouring principles, like anthocyanin colorants. As they are characterized by a great sensitivity to the slightest changes in pH and as they are highly unstable in ordinary daylight, these colorants were not frequently used in the dyeing of quality materials or in painting. Up until now, they have been mainly considered as being used in a domestic context, for the dyeing of everyday clothes. Moreover, after ageing, the plant species are difficult to identify with currently-used analytical methods. We therefore intend to bring to light these « elusive » substances through the close examination of an original and primordial source : artistic recipe books. Our previous researches have highlighted that these books not only describe these organic colorants, but that they also indicate their use in illumination. From the 14th to the 16th century, hundreds of recipe books containing information relating to these colorants were produced. They describe both their preparation, their diverse applications and the required conditions for their conservation. These recipe books also inform us about the different hues obtained from these colorants. Our study will involve analysing the significance of these organic substances as well as (re)defining their use with a view to increasing our knowledge of historical artistic practices and materials. Furthermore, it could also help to identify specific artistic productions or workshops. Finally, it would be possible to learn more about the status of artists, their working conditions and their training. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 14 (3 ULg)
Peer Reviewed
See detailColor terms in medieval artists’ recipe books : diversity and variability. The puzzling case of ‘Paris Red’
Neven, Sylvie ULg

Conference (2013)

Occurrences of historical color terms can be found in several old written sources and, notably, in medieval artists’ recipe books. In parallel to the physical descriptions of pigments and colorants, these ... [more ▼]

Occurrences of historical color terms can be found in several old written sources and, notably, in medieval artists’ recipe books. In parallel to the physical descriptions of pigments and colorants, these writings deliver information about their optical characteristics, conservation, (in)compatibility with other sorts of materials, and ageing properties. Examination conducted within a corpus of more than 400 recipe books, dating from 1300 to 1650 and produced in Northern Europe, has shed light on the diversity of color denominations and the several ways of designating a coloring material, such as pigments and colorants. Color terms used in artists’ recipe books may have had various meanings and correspond to different hues, subtances or qualities. Moreover, the concept or the material designated by a color term may change, not just in time and space, but from one recipe to another even if they derive from the same source. Looking through a large number of instructions dedicated to colors, it is possible to propose some categories for describing the different sorts of nomenclature and their nature, and it is also possible to suggest the range of pigments and colorants that one word could refer to. Variety and importance given to color names can also be put in relation with the importance and the symbolic value accorded to a coloring agent or a color. This paper will focuss on the various appellations of red color. In particular, it will examine in depth the puzzling name “Paris Red”. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 18 (3 ULg)
Peer Reviewed
See detailThrough artist’s recipe books : interest in and transmission of artists’ knowledge : Observations and reflections within the Strasbourg tradition
Neven, Sylvie ULg

in Clarke, Mark; Dupre, Sven; De Munck, Bert (Eds.) Transmission of artists’ knowledge (2012)

Detailed reference viewed: 13 (2 ULg)
See detailGenèse et pérégrinations des livres de recettes artistiques au Moyen Âge : la tradition de Strasbourg
Neven, Sylvie ULg

Scientific conference (2011, December 14)

Detailed reference viewed: 17 (2 ULg)