Benvenuto Cellini and the Creation of Perseus

explanatory Essay
1568 words
1568 words

Benvenuto Cellini and the Creation of Perseus

My name is Bernardino Mannellini. I am now working on my own trying to succeed as a sculptor here in Rome. I have found the job extremely difficult, but it was expected after my apprenticeship with the great sculptor, Benvenuto Cellini. He was not the most famous but was equally deserving as such great sculptors as Michel Agnolo Buonarroti. This is why I write to you today. Cellini produced one of the most beautiful works of this time in his masterpiece of Perseus. It was a remarkable feat whose story cannot go untold (Huntley 251).

Cellini and I had arrived in Florence from France for a short while. Although he was very successful in France under the encouragement of Majesty King Francis, Cellini wanted very much to revisit his birthplace of Florence. He quickly became known to the Duke and did a few works for him. First, the colossal bronze bust of his Excellency; secondly, a restoration of the Ganymede in marble which cost a great deal of difficulty; and thirdly, the Medusa head cast in bronze. Succeeding well with Medusa, Cellini wanted to start on a cast of Perseus holding the head of Medusa (Cellini 410).

Cellini made the wax model which came out beautifully, but I was questionable to whether it would come out in bronze as did the Medusa. Apparently the Duke agreed with me when Cellini went to speak to him of the project he was working on. His Excellency was struck by the beauty of the wax model but questioned how it would succeed in bronze with Perseus grasping the head of Medusa so high. The statue would stand ten and a half feet tall if completed with Perseus’s hand holding the head of Medusa high in front of him. It was clear why his Excellency was concerned for how Cellini would complete the bronze statue. I was standing aside from Cellini as he tried to assure the Duke that the statue would succeed. Cellini pleaded “My lord, I know how very little confidence you have in me; and I believe the reason of this is that your most illustrious Excellency lends too ready an ear to my calumniators, or else indeed that you do not understand my art.

In this essay, the author

  • Introduces bernardino mannellini, a sculptor from rome, who was apprenticed to benvenuto cellini. he produced one of the most beautiful works of this time in perseus.
  • Describes how cellini wanted to revisit his birthplace of florence. he was successful in france under the encouragement of majesty king francis.
  • Analyzes how cellini's excellency questioned whether the bronze statue would succeed with perseus grasping the head of medusa high in front of him.
  • Narrates how cellini banished sadness by ordering pinewood from the forests of serristori and building a funnel-shaped furnace around perseus.
  • Explains that cellini had placed numerous pigs of copper and bronze resting one upon the other so that the metal could heat and liquefy sooner.
  • Describes how they battled unfavorable circumstances for several hours when cellini took ill with an intense fever and was forced to his bed.
  • Narrates how cellini ordered a sixty-pound block of bronze to be tossed in the furnace. the explosion took place and the bronze was bubbling.
  • Narrates how cellini and i began to uncover the statue slowly. the medusa head came out beautifully, just as cellini predicted, until he reached the right foot whose toes were not complete.
  • Narrates how the duke had received news of perseus and greeted us graciously, but deemed the accomplishment far more stupendous hearing it from the mouth of cellini.
  • Opines that cellini would go on to complete and sell perseus, which was placed at the piazza della signoria by the duke.
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