colour context

More than 5 500 artist recipes

From Antiquity, artists, artisans, craftsmen and even scholars have transmitted and recorded their knowledge of artistic materials and practices within a specific sort of writing : artists' recipe books.

The Colour ConText database facilitates the consultation and exploitation of a large corpus of written sources.

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  • 5 500 recipes
  • 2 500 Materials
  • 1 000 sources

the project

The Project Approach

The project APPROACH (Authentication, Preservation and Production of Artistic Material for Cultural Heritage) initially relies on the results of a vast study conducted by Sylvie Neven on artistic treatises and recipe books produced from Antiquity across Europe.

In 2006, Sylvie started her research on these particular type of historical source, focussing on one of the most well-known recipe books produced in the Middle Ages: the Strasbourg Manuscript. For the purpose of her doctoral thesis, she examined dozens of recipes books from that period. Her study consisted not only in the transcription and translation of these texts but also relied on historical, philological and codicological analyses.

More infos about the project APPROACH

The project

An Original Way to Value Art

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Documentation & expertise

Such knowledge contributes to a better understanding of the various steps involved in the creation of a work of art, as well as the various materials from which it has been crafted.

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Authentication & analysis

It can help to situate the work of art within a specific place of production, a geographical area or artistic movement. These data can also be used to specify or corroborate the results obtained from scientific analyses performed on the work of art.

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Preservation & restoration

They provide a more pertinent understanding of the work of art, suggesting the most appropriate intervention for its preservation as well as facilitating the identification of any alterations that may have been made.

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Production & reconstruction

The information delivered by the recipes can form the basis of (experimental) reconstructions of historical artistic practices and materials. They can also serve to (re)create artistic materials to be used at the present day.

with the support of

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The Colour ConText database is developed for the project APPROACH by Dr Sylvie Neven.

More about the Team