Benvenuto Cellini was a celebrated goldsmith and distinguished sculptor, yet it is on his autobiography that much of his fame rests. Begun in Florence when he was fifty-eight, it was primarily intended to be the story of his life and art, his tragedies and triumphs. However, as he was an active participant in the wars and struggles of the period, and drew his friends and enemies from all levels of society, it became a vivid and convincing portrait of the manners and morals both of the rulers of the sixteenth century and of their subjects. With enviable powers of invective and an irrespressible sense of humour, reflected in an equally vigorous and extravagant style, Cellini has provided an intriguing and unrivalled glimpse into the palaces and prisons of the Italy of Michelangelo and Medici.
Benvenuto Cellini was a celebrated Renaissance sculptor and goldsmith - a passionate craftsman who was admired and resented by the most powerful political and artistic personalities in sixteenth-century Florence, Rome and Paris. He was also a murderer and a braggart, a shameless adventurer who at different times experienced both papal persecution and imprisonment, and the adulation of the royal court. Inn-keepers and prostitutes, kings and cardinals, artists and soldiers rub shoulders in the pages of his notorious autobiography: a vivid portrait of the manners and morals of both the rulers of the day and of their subjects. Written with supreme powers of invective and an irrepressible sense of humour, this is an unrivalled glimpse into the palaces and prisons of the Italy of Michelangelo and the Medici.
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Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) was a celebrated goldsmith and distinguished sculptor whose powerful talent can still be seen in such works as his bronze statue of Perseus and his gold salt cellar made for Francis 1. He worked for a variety of patrons, including Popes Clement VII and Paul III.
George Bull is an author and journalist who has translated 6 volumes for Penguin Classics, including The Book of the Courtier by Castiglione, Vasari's Lives of the Artists and The Prince by Machiavelli.
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