Alcalá de Henares presents "Secretos de buena tinta"


Until February 26th, the Cervantes Birthplace is hosting an exhibition that reveals a compilation of the secrets of making dyes, colours, and pigments to better understand the genius of ancient artists.

The repertoire ranges from modest, carefully compiled handwritten notebooks, to printed books that have traveled all over Europe to transmit fundamental works of universal thought and culture. 

"Secrets of Good Ink" proposes a historical and artistic journey that traces the last five centuries of the manufacture of such a precious commodity for art and literature, thanks to the work of alchemists and popular wisdom. 

The exhibition encourages visitors to reflect on the process of making ink, because although it is apparently a simple process, in reality it hides many complications, such as choosing the raw material, preparing the pigments and making a good mixture.  

The tour includes many exceptional pieces such as a miniature from the Lázaro Galdiano Foundation, a Goya from the Prado Museum, an engraving by Rembrandt and even the printed pages of Don Quijote.

Located in Alcalá de Henares, "Secrets of Good Ink" helps to discover a special value for the owner and the good relations that existed between the exceptional artists who worked in the workshops, preserving works of art from the 3rd to the 19th century.

Evocative names such as "sangre de drago", "negro de humo", "azul de tornasol" or "verde de lirios" transport the visitor to the workshops where the colours were ground and take the viewer on a journey to foreign lands in which the pigments were brought to the European markets. 

This Complutense exhibition delves into the mysteries of art, showing what lies behind the act of making a drawing or an engraving. It reflects on the production of the materials to make these works of art, and takes us into the back room of the art world. 


More information: Secretos de buena tinta

Image credits: © Casa Natal de Cervantes