Academic journal article The Hudson Review

To Make Various Sorts of Black

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

To Make Various Sorts of Black

Article excerpt

According to the craftsman's handbook chapter XXXVII

Il libro dell'arte by Cennino d'Andrea Cennini

who tells us there are several kinds of black colors.

First, there is a black derived from soft black stone.

It is a fat color; not hard at heart, a stone unctioned.

Then there is a black which is made from vine twigs.

Twigs which choose to abide on the true vine

offering up their bodies at the last to be burned,

then quenched and worked up, they can live again

as twig of the vine black; not a fat, more of a lean

color favored alike by vinedressers and artists.

There is also the black that's made from burnt shells.

Markers of Atlantic's graves.

Black of scorched earth, of torched stones of peach;

twisted trees that bore strange fruit.

And then there is the black that is the source of light

from a lamp full of oil such as any thoughtful guest

waiting for bride and groom who cometh will have. …

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