Posted in Alchemy, Preservation

The Curious Reader

This is a truly fascinating site dedicated to the glass-maker Antonio Neri and many details geared toward “conciatore” and the like.  A “conciatore” is,  ‘a specialist in alchemy who formulated glass from raw materials.’

Alchemy is not all it seems to the peeled viewer. It contains some truly engaging observations into human habits, the capacity of the mind and illusion.

Please take a moment to explore this brilliant site:

The Curious Reader

An unknown early modern reader with spectacles.
Church of San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcolula,
High Mixteca Region, Oaxaca, Mexico, 16th century fresco.

In my last post (“The Art of Fire Reprise”), I discussed Priest Antonio Neri’s familiarity with Biringuccio’s Pirotechnia and the allusions he makes to it in the introduction of his own book on glassmaking, L’Arte Vetraria. The entire introduction is relatively short and well worth reading for a fascinating glimpse into the state of the art four hundred years ago. It also outlines Neri’s thoughts on the earliest origins of glass; he recounts the prevailing stories of the day and adds his observations, but as a careful historian, he lets us decide for ourselves how much is truth and how much is myth. Here is the introduction to L’Arte Vetraria in its entirety, addressed to “The Curious Reader”:

Without a doubt, glass is a true fruit of the art of fire, as it can so closely resemble all kinds of rocks and minerals, yet it is a compound and made by art. In the fire, it fuses and becomes imperishable. Indeed, like the perfect shining metal gold, the fire refines it, polishes it and makes it beautiful.

 

 

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