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Art History - Historical Artists > C > Benvenuto Cellini


Historical Artist - Benvenuto Cellini (1500 - 1571)

Born in Florence, Benvenuto Cellini began training as a goldsmith at the age of thirteen. He worked with a several artists, studied sculpture, and began working on large sculptural projects. Cellini’s reputation was founded on his work in Fontainebleu, France where his sculptures were created with the most ambition. He worked for famous patrons such as the Roman popes, the Medici family of Florence, and King Francois I of France. Despite his established position, Cellini’s life was marred by many run-ins with the law for sodomy, theft, and murder. Late in his life and after several imprisonments, he began writing his autobiography and several treatises on sculpture and goldsmithing. Besides his works in gold and silver, Cellini executed sculptures of grander scale. The most distinguished of these is the bronze group of "Perseus holding the head of Medusa", a work (first suggested by Duke Cosimo I de Medici) now in the Loggia dei Lanzi at Florence, his attempt to surpass Michelangelo's David and Donatello's Judith and Holofernes. The casting of this work caused Cellini much trouble and anxiety, but it was hailed as a masterpiece as soon as it was completed. The original relief from the foot of the pedestal — Perseus and Andromeda — is in the Bargello, and replaced by a cast.

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