De Coloribus: new perspectives on a series of recipes for making pigments within the Compositiones lucenses tradition


  • Giulia Brun Dastu Department - Politecnico di Milano


Color, lighting, visual perception, digital, design


De Coloribus: new perspectives on a series of recipes for making pigments within the Compositiones lucenses tradition [...]


R. P. Johnson, Compositiones variae from codex 490, Biblioteca Capitolare, Lucca, Italy. An introductory study, «Illinois studies in Language and literature», 23, 3, Urbana 1939.

L. A. Muratori, Antiquitates Italicae Medii Ævi, II, Milano 1739.

The medieval tradition of Compositiones lucenses and its connection to Vitruvius’ manuscripts has been at the centre of the PhD dissertation of the undersigned: G. Brun, The transmission and circulation of practical knowledge on art and architecture in the Middle Ages. The case of Compositiones lucenses tradition and its connection to Vitruvius’ De architectura, Phd Dissertation, Politecnico di Milano, 2015.

L. Schiaparelli, Il codice 490 della Biblioteca Capitolare di Lucca e la scuola scrittoria lucchese, sec. 8.-9.: contributi allo studio della minuscola precarolina in Italia, Roma 1924.

W. Ganzenm ller, Ein unbekanntes Bruchst ck des Mappae clavicula aus dem Anfang des 9. Jahrhunderts, «Mitteilungen zur Geschichte der Medizin, der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik», 40, 1941, pp. 1-15.

W. Ganzenm ller, Beitr ge zur Geschichte der Technologie und der Alchemie, Weinheim-Bergstraße 1956.

A. Giry, Note sur un manuscrit de la bibliothèque de Sélestat, «Revue de philologie, de littérature, et d’histoire anciennes», 3, 1879, pp. 16-18.

The manuscripts of Mappae clavicula, which for the most contain also excerpts from the CLT, has been recently studied by the undersigned and published inside the first critical edition of the text edited by Sandro Baroni, Giuseppe Pizzigoni, and Paola Travaglio. G. Brun, I codici testimoni di Mappae clavicula, in S. Baroni, G. Pizzigoni, P. Travaglio (eds.), Mappae clavicula. Alle origini dell’alchimia in Occidente. Testo, traduzione, note, Saonara 2014, pp. 201-217.

T. Phillipps, Letter from Sir Thomas Phillipps addressed to Albert Way Communicating a Transcript of a MS Treatise on the Preparation of Pigments, and on Various Processes of the Decorative Arts Practiced in the Middle Ages, Written in the Twelfth Century, and Entitled Mappae Clavicula, «Archaeologia, or Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquity», 32, London 1847, pp. 183-244.

C. S. Smith, J. G. Hawthorne, Mappae Clavicula: a little key to the world of medieval techniques, «Transactions of The American Philosophical Society», 64, 4, 1974, pp. 1-128

D. V. Thompson, Artificial Vermilion in the Middle Ages, «Technical Studies», II, 1933, pp. 62-70.

A. Petzold, De coloribus et mixtionibus: the Earliest Manuscripts of a Romanesque Illuminator’s Handbook, in L. L. Brownrigg (ed.), Making the Medieval Book: Techniques of Production. Proceedings of the Fourth Conference of the Seminar in the History of the Book to 1550 (Oxford, July 1992), London 1995, pp. 59-64.

G. Brun, De emplastro. Prime considerazioni su un inedito trattatello di pittura murale altomedievale, «ACME», Vol. LXIV, III, 2011, pp. 51-74.

F. Tolaini,’De tinctio omnium musivorum’. Technical recipes on glass in the so-called ‘Mappae clavicula’, in M. Beretta (ed.), When glass matters, Firenze 2004, pp. 195-214.

F. Madan, H. H. E. Craster, A summary Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, 4 vols, Oxford 1922.

G. Pomaro, I ricettari del fondo Palatino della Biblioteca nazionale centrale di Firenze: inventario, Milano-Firenze 1991.




How to Cite

Brun, G. (2015) “De Coloribus: new perspectives on a series of recipes for making pigments within the Compositiones lucenses tradition”, Cultura e Scienza del Colore - Color Culture and Science, 3, pp. 51–55. Available at: (Accessed: 11 August 2022).