The Making and Knowing Project celebrates the publication of Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France. A Digital Critical Edition and English Translation of BnF Ms. Fr. 640, a remarkable sixteenth-century manuscript held by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The manuscript contains over 900 recipes for making art objects, medical remedies, and materials for the household and workshop. Its observations on craft workshop practices record extensive first-hand experimentation with natural materials, and provide unique insights into the material, technical, and intellectual world of the late sixteenth century. It sheds light on how and why nature was investigated, collected, and used in art in early modern Europe, and on the origins of the natural sciences in the creative labors of Renaissance artists and artisans’ workshops. The digital critical edition is openly accessible.
Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France presents the text of the manuscript in French transcription and English translation for the first time. Over 100 essays written by students and scholars explore the manuscript’s material and historical context and discuss the hands-on reconstruction of its processes in the Making and Knowing Laboratory.
Making and Knowing Project, Pamela H. Smith, Naomi Rosenkranz, Tianna Helena Uchacz, Tillmann Taape, Clément Godbarge, Sophie Pitman, Jenny Boulboullé, Joel Klein, Donna Bilak, Marc Smith, and Terry Catapano, eds., Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France. A Digital Critical Edition and English Translation of BnF Ms. Fr. 640 (New York: Making and Knowing Project, 2020), http://edition640.