If you are a student of artist history, recently read Walter Isaacson's best-selling Leonardo Da Vinci, or are a Caravaggio cognoscente, you should pick up this artist's first-person account of Renaissance Italy. With an easy directness, Cellini--a Florentine goldsmith born in 1500--describes a city where diversity was valued and a time when Liberal Arts scholarship was a life's purpose. On any given day, there's also violence and murder, love and unguarded sexuality. Unlike da Vinci and Caravaggio, Cellini shares the struggle of his creative process through one of the most important autobiographies in the Western canon.
Picked by Heather M. in Prospect Lefferts Gardens— From Staff Picks
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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About the Author
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.