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Benvenuto Cellini

Benvenuto Cellini (Italian pronunciation: [beɱveˈnuːto tʃelˈliːni]; 3 November 150013 February 1571) was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor, draftsman, soldier, musician, and artist who also wrote a famous autobiography and poetry.

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Cellini's Perseus with the head of Medusa (detail), Florence, Italy.

Contributed by Lori Jones

Works of Benvenuto Cellini (volume optional)

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Coin minted by Cellini for Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence (1535)

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Detail of Cellini's Salt cellar

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Benvenuto Cellini (in his autobiography, 1558) describes a stage of the casting of his Perseus and Medusa bronze statue: "All of a sudden an explosion took place, attended by a tremendous flash of flame, as though a thunderbolt had formed and been discharged amongst us. Unwonted and appalling terror astonied every one, and me more even than the rest. When the din was over and the dazzling light extinguished, we began to look each other in the face. Then I discovered that the cap of the furnace had blown up, and the bronze was bubbling over..."

Contributed by Lori Jones

"My father began teaching me to play upon the flute and sing by note; but not withstanding I was of that tender age when little children are wont to take pastime in whistles and such toys. I had an inexpressible dislike for it and played and sang only to obey him." - Benvenuto humored his father to some extent, moderately keeping up with his flute, but by age 15 he placed himself under a craftsman of the goldsmith's trade. Although sculpture became his passion, he designed coins throughout his career.

Contributed by Lori Jones

"All men of whatsoever quality they be, who have done anything of excellence, or which may properly resemble excellence, ought, if they are persons of truth and honesty, to describe their life with their own hand..." - the autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini (translated by J. Addington Symonds)

Contributed by Lori Jones

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