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Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571)

Author of The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini

27+ Works 2,757 Members 25 Reviews 5 Favorited

About the Author

Benvenuto Cellini was born in Florence, Italy, on November 1, 1500. He became a celebrated sculptor, goldsmith, and author, but his fierce temper caused him to be exiled and imprisoned for numerous crimes, the most serious being murder. Among Cellini's best work as a sculptor was a gold saltcellar show more made for Francis I of France, and a colossal bronze statue titled Perseus and Medusa. Other significant works include a bust of Cosimo I de Medici and Ganymede on the Eagle, both of which are now housed in the Bargello Museum in Florence. Cellini is best known for his memoirs, The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, which he wrote from 1558 to 1562 and was published after his death. He died on February 13, 1571. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by Benvenuto Cellini

The Works of Cellini (1927) 51 copies
The Life of Benvenuto Cellini: Volume 1 (1929) — Author — 21 copies
The Life of Benvenuto Cellini: Volume 2 (1903) — Author — 19 copies
Benvenuto Cellini : Saliera — Artist — 2 copies

Associated Works

The Penguin Book of International Gay Writing (1995) — Contributor — 177 copies
A Documentary History of Art, Volume 2 (1958) — Contributor — 145 copies
Classic Travel Stories (1994) — Contributor — 63 copies
The Necromancers (1971) — Contributor — 34 copies
Satanism and Witches (1974) — Contributor — 23 copies


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Cellini, Benvenuto
Date of death
Burial location
church of the Annunziata, Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy
Place of death
Florence, Italy
Places of residence
Rome, Italy
Paris, France



What a raucous soap opera this book was! Cellini is best known as being a master goldsmith as well as a sculptor. His first noted great work was a silver salt cellar for the King of France. Cellini was a juvenile delinquent from the age of 12 when he roamed the streets of Florence. His parents were musicians and tried to reign him in and apprentice him to musicians, but he rebelled, and he was finally apprenticed to a goldsmith. He didn't like the instruction so at age 19 he ran away to Rome. While there he found an old friend who lent him a workspace and gave him a piece of silver which began his career. Cellini tells fantastic stories, although I'm not sure all are believable. According to his own writings, he took part in the sack of Rome in 1527, was sued four times for sodomy, and committed murder several times. He writes that he found those who sued him and "stabbed him so badly in the arms and the legs, that he would not be mobile again." He sought out the second subject for the same, but as the man repented during the stabbing, Cellini did not injure him as badly. Cellini also believed he could conjure up devils to do his bidding. He was imprisoned several times while in Rome and believed that he had a halo around his head indicating divine protection. Eventually, he was exiled from Rome and returned to Florence where Cosimo Medici became his patron. Per his own story, Cellini was quite a narcissist who exploited almost everyone with which he came into contact. 465 pages… (more)
Tess_W | 21 other reviews | Oct 7, 2023 |
I remember more than anything else the ego of Cellini.
mykl-s | 21 other reviews | Aug 4, 2023 |
When you get a first-person account from 500 years ago, you really hope to read about details of everyday life, what people ate, where they lived, what they wore..

but of course those are not the things people think to record, nor it is it Cellini's intent to record the minutiae of every day life.. Instead, this is Cellini's attempt to set the record straight against anyone who he feels hard done by , i.e. everyone. He is constantly mortally offended, and takes revenge, occasionally violently. He destroys the bedding in an inn after the landlord has the temerity to ask him to pay up front.

There were some puzzling medical mysteries that I wish some one should shed some light on. The governor of the prison has a complaint where he is convinced he is a bottle of oil, and then a bat. This sis the same prison where Cellini has a series of religious visions, so perhaps there is something in the water?

It is an authentic voice from the past, and you don't have to like him.He probably doesn't like you ,anyway.
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dylkit | 21 other reviews | Jul 16, 2022 |
A more or less linear, tale-by-tale recounting of Cellini's life.

Look, you will either love this book because it gives a glimpse into life in the late Italian Renaissance, through the eyes of an extremely colorful character whose personality takes center stage, or you will dislike it for being repetitive, one-sided, and possibly offensive to modern sensibilities.

The typical story in this memoir involves someone becoming jealous of Cellini's immense talents, and using their influence to turn powerful people (multiple Popes, a handful of different Cardinals, the King of France, etc.) against him. Usually, Cellini's innate morality will, by the grace of God, prove him innocent. Occasionally, he will be thrown in prison, flee the city, or murder his enemy in cold blood. According to the man himself, everyone is out to get him, and only his virtue, bravery, and sheer genius keep him going. In no case will Cellini admit to a fault, or stop to wonder why this kind of thing seems to happen to him so often.

Treating him as a character in a story, I found Cellini's self-aggrandizement and lack of self-awareness funny, though in real life he'd probably be insufferable!
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1 vote
adamhindman | 21 other reviews | Sep 2, 2021 |



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