" data-medium-file="https://www.derekwadsworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/lessing_art_10310484006-352x450.jpg" data-large-file="https://www.derekwadsworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/lessing_art_10310484006-626x800.jpg" src="https://www.derekwadsworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/lessing_art_10310484006-271x346.jpg" width="271" height="346" align="left" title="Title: Saliera (salt cellar), detail; triumphal arch; picture ID:" />
Creator: Benvenuto Cellini; Date: 1540-1543; Material: gold, niello work, ebony base; Measurements: as whole height 26 cm; Repository: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, inv. 881.

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Notably, the doesn’t surname the main figures—they would certainly only later on be identified as Neptune and also Tellus. Together Charles Hope explains in his book Patronage in the Renaissance, Cellini was generally interested in the composition, and the appropriate subject matter came later.

Cellini tells us that as soon as he presented the wax model to the Cardinal his companions butted in again. “This is a item which it will take the resides of ten males to finish,” an torture to the Cardinal exclaims once they room presented with the model. “Do not expect, most reverend monsignor, if friend order it, to get it in your lifetime.” The Cardinal agreed and declined the piece.

The genuine problem can have to be its cost, though, due to the fact that the Cardinal took Cellini with him to existing the design to Francis I, King the France.

Francis’ reaction was more to Cellini’s liking. The writes the upon seeing the model, the King cried the end in astonishment: “This is a hundred times an ext divine a point that i had ever before dreamed of. What a miracle of a man! he ought never to stop working.” Without hesitation he climate asked for the salt cellar to be enforcement in gold.


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Henri Fantin-Latour, spreading of the Perseus; 1888. Sterling and Francine Clark arts Institute; Dept. Of Prints, Drawings and also Photographs.


Cellini then changes gears and jumps right into an adventure story in which he single-handedly fends turn off four equipped bandits as he walked residence with a basket laden with the gold that he received from the King’s treasurer. “My skill in utilizing the sword made lock think ns was a soldier rather than a fellow of some other calling,” that writes.

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When the Saliera was finally made and also presented come Francis, Cellini cases the King “uttered a according to outcry of astonishment, and could no satiate his eyes with gazing at it.”

We should more than likely take the artist’s account the the King’s reaction with, ahem, a grain of salt. The doesn’t seem come have arisen to Cellini that there can have been various other reasons for Francis’s enthusiasm. Because that example, Alana O’Brien argues in The 16 Century Journal that the King’s attention was because of “its post in relation to Francis I’s political and also economic interests in salt production and the pepper and spice trades,” not simply the object’s beauty.

But this is not too surprising. To quote Ruth Wedgwood Kennedy in Renaissance News, “even though plenty of other actors number in the melodrama of Cellini’s life and also he come into contact with princes, prelates, an excellent ladies, humanists, policemen, ostlers and also brigands, he sees whatever in so personal a means that he is blind to many of the facets the Cinquecento life.”