Friday, July 10, 2015

Cellini, Benvenuto - he had an eventful life

Normally I link to wikipedia, but this is one case where the Britannica article is far more interesting.

Benvenuto Cellini was a Florentine sculptor, goldsmith and writer who had a very eventful life. He was born in 1500. In 1516 he was banished from Siena as a result of a brawl. In 1523 he was prosecuted for fighting and condemned to death.

In 1527 he fled to Rome and participated in its defense during which he shot a constable of Bourban as well as a Prince of Orange.

At some point he killed a rival goldsmith, but he was absolved by Pope Paul III. But, the following year he wounded a notary and fled Rome. In 1537 he returned to Rome and was imprisoned for embezzlement. He escaped, but was imprisoned again and then finally released in 1539 at the insistence of Cardinal d'Este of Ferrara.

In 1546 he fled Venice to escape charges of immorality.

Throughout all this he completed various gold sculptures for kings, nobility, and various powerful religious figures. Despite all that, his lasting fame is mostly due to his autobiography which was not something that people normally wrote during that period.

He died in 1571. Neither article actually mentions how he died though.

I strongly recommend clicking the link above and reading the entirety of the Britannica article. I found it riveting.

His autobiography is actually available online at Project Gutenberg. I haven't read it yet, but I think I probably will.

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