Making and Knowing Project Published Digital Critical Edition

February 04, 2020
image of students in lab

The Making and Knowing Project (a Center for Science and Society Research Cluster) is thrilled to present its edition, Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France: A Digital Critical Edition of BnF Ms. Fr. 640. The anonymous manuscript from 1580s Toulouse (France) includes over 900 “recipes” for colormaking, metal casting, and medical remedies—to name just a few. Created over the course of five years with the help of more than 400 students, scholars, artists, and researchers, the edition shares new insights into making and materials, from a time when artists were scientists. 

Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France presents the text of the manuscript in French transcription and English translation for the first time. Please enjoy browsing the manuscript, exploring the index of recipes, combing the extensive glossary, and reading the over 100 multimedia-rich essays about the manuscript’s material and historical context and the students’ hands-on reconstructions in the M&K Laboratory.

Read the manuscript and research essays at, and stay tuned for new content and features in the coming months.