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Benvenuto Cellini

Florentine Mannerist sculptor, goldsmith, draughtstman, flautist, soldier, writer and poet born in Florence (1500) and died in Florence (1571), aged 71

Acquaintances

Pietro Torrigiano (1472-1528) sculptor

Teachers

Antonio di Sandro goldsmith

Employers

Fracastoro Sienese goldsmith

Parents

Giovanni Cellini musician, ivory worker, organ maker, harpsichord maker and engineer

Friends

Michelangelo (1475-1564) Florentine High Renaissance military engineer, sculptor, painter, architect and poet

1490s

Pietro Torrigiano breaks the nose of Michelangelo in argument while drawing in the Carmine, smashing it so hard that it never heals. The incident is described in a passage from Cellini's autobiography.

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Pietro Torrigiano (1472-1528), aged 18: sculptor

Source: Primary

Benvenuto Cellini

1500

November 3

on Saturday

10 years, 10 months, 8 days later

Birth

Benvenuto Cellini is born in Florence.

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The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:40 AM and sunset was at 5:47 PM.

1516

15 years, 2 months, 2 days later

Banished from Florence

Benvenuto Cellini is banished from Florence for six months for his part in a street fight and lives in Siena.

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1519

3 years, 1 day later

Benvenuto Cellini moves to Rome at the age of 19.

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1523

January 14

on Sunday

4 years, 14 days later

Fined for sodomy

Benvenuto Cellini is sentenced to pay 12 staia of flour for relations with a boy named Domenico di ser Giuliano da Ripa.

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The moon was waning crescent that night.

1527

May

4 years, 3 months, 18 days later

Cellini wounds the Prince of Orange

Benvenuto Cellini shoots and injures Philibert of Châlon, prince of Orange during the Sack of Rome.

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1527

May 6

on Friday

5 days later

Cellini shoots the Duke of Bourbon

Benvenuto Cellini kills Charles III, Duke of Bourbon during the Sack of Rome.

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The moon was in the first quarter that night.

1527

Late

26 days later

Benvenuto Cellini returns to Florence.

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1528

7 months, 4 days later

Michelangelo praises Benvenuto Cellini

A Sienese gentleman had commissioned Cellini to make him a golden medal, to be worn in the hat. "The subject was to be Hercules wrenching the lion's mouth. While I was working at this piece, Michel Agnolo Buonarroti came oftentimes to see it. I had spent infinite pains upon the design, so that the attitude of the figure and the fierce passion of the beast were executed in quite a different style from that of any other craftsman who had hitherto attempted such groups. This, together with the fact that the special branch of art was totally unknown to Michel Agnolo, made the divine master give such praises to my work that I felt incredibly inspired for further effort. "Just then I met with Federigo Ginori, a young man of very lofty spirit. He had lived some years in Naples and being endowed with great charms of person and presence, had been the lover of a Neopolitan princess. He wanted to have a medal made with Atlas bearing the world upon his shoulders, and applied to Michel Agnolo for a design. Michel Agnolo made this answer: 'Go and find out a young goldsmith named Benvenuto; he will serve you admirably, and certainly he does not stand in need of sketches by me. However, to prevent your thinking that I want to save myself the trouble of so slight a matter, I will gladly sketch you something; but meanwhile speak to Benvenuto and let him also make a model; he can then execute the better of the two designs.' Federigo Ginori came to me and told me that he wanted, adding thereto how Michel Agnolo had praised me, and how he had suggested I should make a waxen model while he undertook to supply a sketch. The words of that great man so heartened me, that I set myself to work at once with eagerness upon the model; and when I had finished it, a painter who was intimate with Michel Agnolo, called Giuliano Bugiardini, brought me the drawing of Atlas. On the same occasion I showed Giuliano my little model in wax, which was very different from Michel Agnolo's drawing; and Federigo, in concert with Bugiardini, agreed that I should work upon my model. So I took it in hand, and when Michel Agnolo saw it, he praised me to the skies."

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Source: Primary

Symonds, John Addington: "The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti", Modern Library (New York), p.259-261

1529

1 year, 1 day later

Cellini avenges the death of his brother

Cecchino Cellini kills a Corporal of the Roman Watch and in turn is wounded by an arquebusier (rifleman), later dying of his wound. His brother, Benvenuto Cellini, kills his killer, then flees to Naples to escape the consequences of an affray with a notary, Ser Benedetto, whom he had wounded.

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1530

April 2

on Wednesday

1 year, 3 months, 1 day later

Cellini meets Clement VII

Jacopo della Barca conducts Benvenuto Cellini to an audience with Clement VII. The Pope is indisposed in bed with an illness, attended by Jacopo Salviati and the Archbishop of Capua. Benvenuto asks for absolution for a theft he had committed during the Sack of Rome, when he stole some grains of gold worth a hundred and fifty ducats, in recompense for moneys that were not paid him for work he had carried out on behalf of the Pope. The Pope gives his absolution.

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The moon was waxing crescent that night.

1531

9 months, 4 days later

Cellini directs the fusiliers at the Castel Sant'Angelo to fire their cannons at the Duke of Orange during the Sack of Rome, and wounds him.

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1534

3 years, 1 day later

Cellini kills Pompeo

Benvenuto Cellini kills Pompeo of Milan, a rival goldsmith.

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1537

3 years, 1 day later

Cellini is imprisoned at Castel Sant Angelo

Upon returning from a visit to the French court, Benvenuto Cellini is imprisoned on a charge (apparently false) of having embezzled the gems of the pope's tiara during the war. He is confined to the Castel Sant'Angelo, escapes, is recaptured, and treated with great severity; he is in daily expectation of death on the scaffold. The intercession of Pier Luigi's wife, and especially that of the Cardinal d'Este of Ferrara, eventually secures Cellini's release, in gratitude for which he gives d'Este a splendid cup.

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1548

11 years, 2 days later

In Florence, Benvenuto Cellini is accused by a woman named Margherita, for having certain familiarities with her son, Vincenzo.

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1556

February 26

on Sunday

8 years, 1 month, 28 days later

Cellini's apprentice Fernando di Giovanni di Montepulciano accuses his mentor of having sodomised him many times. This time the penalty was a hefty fifty golden scudi fine, and four years of prison, remitted to four years of house arrest thanks to the intercession of the Medicis.

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The moon was a full moon that night.

1558

1 year, 10 months, 10 days later

Benvenuto Cellini begins to write his Autobiography.

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1562

4 years, 1 day later

Benvenuto Cellini marries a servant, Piera Parigi.

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1563

1 year later

Benvenuto Cellini travels to Pisa for the last time.

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1571

May 13

on Thursday

8 years, 4 months, 14 days later

Benvenuto Cellini dies in Florence and is buried with great pomp in the church of the Santissima Annunziata.

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The moon was waning gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

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