Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 
 

 
 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
 

PAINTING
SCULPTURE - Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
ARCHITECTURE - Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
 
 


SCULPTURE
 



CELLINI.

The second, elegant phase of Mannerism appears in countless sculptural examples in Italy and abroad. The best-known representative of the style is
Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), the Florentine goldsmith and sculptor who owes much of his fame to his picaresque autobiography. The gold saltcellar for King Francis I of France (fig. 695), Cellini's only major work in precious metal to escape destruction, displays the virtues and limitations of his art. To hold condiments is obviously the lesser function of this lavish conversation piece. Because salt comes from the sea and pepper from the land, Cellini placed the boat-shaped salt container under the guardianship of Neptune, while the pepper, in a tiny triumphal arch, is watched over by a personification of Earth. On the base are figures representing the four seasons and the four parts of the day.

The entire object thus reflects the cosmic significance of the Medici tombs (compare fig. 654), but on this miniature scale Cellini's program turns into playful fancy. We recognize it as a conceit on the same order as Vasari's Perseus and Andromeda (fig. 681). Cellini wants to impress us with his ingenuity and skill, and to charm us with the grace of his figures. The allegorical significance of the design is simply a pretext for this display of virtuosity. When he tells us, for instance, that Neptune and Earth each have a bent and a straight leg to signify mountains and plains, form is completely divorced from content. Despite his boundless admiration for Michelangelo, Cellini creates elegant figures that are as elongated, smooth, and languid as Parmigianino's (see fig. 678).
 


695. Benvenuto Cellini. Saltcellar of Francis I. 1539-43. Gold with enamel, 26 x 33.3 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna




Benvenuto Cellini. Saltcellar of Francis I. (detail) 1539-43. Gold with enamel, 26 x 33.3 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna




Benvenuto Cellini. Saltcellar of Francis I. (detail) 1539-43. Gold with enamel, 26 x 33.3 cm.
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna





Benvenuto Cellini. Saltcellar of Francis I. (detail) 1539-43. Gold with enamel, 26 x 33.3 cm.
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna





Benvenuto Cellini. Saltcellar of Francis I. (detail) 1539-43. Gold with enamel, 26 x 33.3 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna




Benvenuto Cellini. Saltcellar of Francis I. (detail) 1539-43. Gold with enamel, 26 x 33.3 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna




Benvenuto Cellini. Saltcellar of Francis I. (detail) 1539-43. Gold with enamel, 26 x 33.3 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna




Benvenuto Cellini. Saltcellar of Francis I. (detail) 1539-43. Gold with enamel, 26 x 33.3 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna




Benvenuto Cellini. Saltcellar of Francis I. (detail) 1539-43. Gold with enamel, 26 x 33.3 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

 

 


Benvenuto Cellini

Benvenuto Cellini, (born Nov. 1, 1500, Florence—died Feb. 13, 1571, Florence), Florentine sculptor, goldsmith, and writer, one of the most important Mannerist artists and, because of the lively account of himself and his period in his autobiography, one of the most picturesque figures of the Renaissance.


Early career
Cellini, resisting the efforts of his father to train him as a musician, was apprenticed as a metalworker in the studio of the Florentine goldsmith Andrea di Sandro Marcone. Banished to Siena as a result of a brawl in 1516, he returned to Florence during 1517–19 and then moved to Rome. Prosecuted for fighting in Florence in 1523 and condemned to death, he fled again to Rome, where he worked for the bishop of Salamanca, Sigismondo Chigi, and Pope Clement VII. Cellini participated in the defense of Rome in 1527, during which, by his own account, he shot the constable of Bourbon as well as the Prince of Orange.

After the sack of Rome he returned to Florence and in 1528 worked in Mantua, making a seal for Cardinal Gonzaga (Episcopal Archives of the City of Mantua). Moving back to Rome in 1529, he was appointed maestro delle stampe (“stamp master”) at the papal mint and in 1530–31 executed a celebrated morse (clasp) for Clement VII. Like so many of Cellini’s works in precious metals, this was melted down, but its design is recorded in three 18th-century drawings in the British Museum, London. The only survivors of the many works he prepared for the Pope are two medals made in 1534 (Uffizi, Florence).

Guilty of killing a rival goldsmith, Cellini was absolved by Pope Paul III; but in the following year, having wounded a notary, he fled from Rome and settled in Florence, where he executed a number of coins for Alessandro de’ Medici (now in the Cabinet des Médailles in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris). After a further year in Rome, he paid a brief visit to France, where he was received by Francis I, a portrait medal of whom (1538; Bargello, Florence) is the sole relic of the journey. On his return to Rome in 1537, he was accused of embezzlement and imprisoned. He escaped, was once more imprisoned, and was finally released in 1539 at the insistence of Cardinal d’Este of Ferrara, for whom he executed a seal (c. 1540; original lost; lead impression in Lyon). Again invited to France by Francis I, he arrived at Fontainebleau in 1540, carrying with him an unfinished saltcellar, which he completed in gold for the King in 1540. This, Cellini’s only fully authenticated work in precious metal (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), is the supreme example of the Renaissance goldsmith’s work. In 1542 Cellini was granted letters of naturalization by the King and in 1544 received a royal commission for 12 silver candlesticks decorated with figures from mythology. The design of one of these, representing Juno, is recorded in a drawing in the Louvre, Paris. Also in 1543–44 he modeled and cast his first large-scale work, a large bronze lunette of the Nymph of Fontainebleau for the entrance to the palace (Louvre). For a projected fountain at Fontainebleau he prepared a model in 1543 for a colossal figure of Mars (lost).


Later years
In 1545 Cellini left Paris precipitately and returned to Florence, where he was welcomed by Cosimo de’ Medici and entrusted with the commissions for his best known sculpture, the bronze Perseus in Florence’s Loggia dei Lanzi, where it still stands, and for a colossal bust of the Grand Duke of Tuscany (Bargello, Florence). Fleeing to Venice in 1546 to escape charges of immorality, Cellini completed the bust by 1548. In the same period he restored an antique torso from Palestrina as Ganymede (1546–47; Uffizi, Florence) and carved his marble figures of Apollo and Hyacinth (1546) and of Narcissus (1546–47); all three works are now in the Bargello in Florence, as is a small relief of a greyhound made as a trial cast for the Perseus (1545). A bronze bust of a banker and patron of the arts, Bindo Altoviti (c. 1550; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston), was also executed by Cellini in Florence. After the unveiling of the Perseus (1554), he began work on a marble crucifix originally destined for his own tomb in the Florentine church of SS. Annunziata; this is now in the church of the royal monastery of the Escorial (Spain). The Escorial Crucifix (1556) exemplifies the superiority of Cellini’s art to the works of his rivals Bartolommeo Ammannati and Baccio Bandinelli. Two designs for the seal of the Academy of Florence (British Museum and Graphische Sammlung, Munich) date from 1563. His autobiography was begun in 1558 and completed in 1562; and in 1565 he began work on his important treatises dealing with goldsmiths’ work and sculpture, the Trattato dell’oreficeria and the Trattato della scultura.

Cellini’s lasting fame is due more to his record of his own life than it is to his work as an artist. First printed in Italy in 1728, Cellini’s autobiography was translated into English (1771), German (1796), and French (1822) and, launched on the tide of the Romantic movement, gained immediate popularity. Dictated to a workshop assistant, it is composed in colloquial language with no literary artifice and gives a firsthand account of the writer’s experience in the Rome of Clement VII, the France of Francis I, and the Florence of Cosimo de’ Medici. Despite its manifest exaggerations and its often boastful tone, it is a human document of surprising frankness and incomparable authenticity, and thanks to it Cellini’s character is more intimately known than that of any other figure of his time.
 

Sir John Pope-Hennessy


Encyclopædia Britannica
 

 




Benvenuto Cellini. Perseus. 1545-54. Bronze, height 320 cm. Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence




Benvenuto Cellini. Perseus. (details). 1545-54. Bronze, height 320 cm. Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence




Benvenuto Cellini. Perseus. (details). 1545-54. Bronze, height 320 cm. Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence




Benvenuto Cellini. Perseus. (details). 1545-54. Bronze, height 320 cm. Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence




Benvenuto Cellini. Perseus. (details). 1545-54. Bronze, height 320 cm. Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence

 
 

Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

 
| privacy