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The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
by Benvenuto Cellini
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From Library Journal
Although most of Cellini's works in precious metals have been melted down, one surviving gold saltceller, which he completed for Francois I of France, and a number of major sculptures have secured his reputation as one of the finest Italian artists in the generation after Michelangelo. But he is most celebrated for his autobiography, which chronicles with unflagging energy and force one of the most tempestuous lives?and one of the largest egos?in all of history. Cellini served dukes, bishops, cardinals, and kings and queens of several nations, and he quarreled with them all, including two popes, one of whom, by Cellini's account, tried to murder him. He confesses to several murders himself, at least one rape, a notorious prison-break, innumerable fights and feuds. He also claims a pivotal role in defending Rome against invasion. From its first appearance in 1728 (150 years after his death), this portrait of a fanatical individualist helped define our notion of the Renaissance. The vigorous translation by John Addington Symonds (uncredited by the producer?a recurring fault) is superbly realized by British narrator Robert Whitfield, successfully bringing to tape Cellini's unforgettable story. Highly recommended for all collections.?Peter Josyph, New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Enter the sixteenth-century world of Italy and the Vatican, where Cellini, a master goldsmith and sculptor, lived and flourished. Whitfield brings Cellini's autobiography to life, fluently rolling Italian and English words off his tongue and capturing the flavor of the tale. Cellini tells of his adventures, his encounters with DaVinci and Michelangelo, the Medicis and other famous people of his era. The minute details recounted by Cellini are gracefully read by Whitfield, who breathes life into this fascinating autobiography. M.B.K. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
1910. Harvard Classics, Volume 31. Edited by Charles W. Eliot. An excellent translation of the honest, if self-aggrandized life of the epitomal sixteenth-century Renaissance man. It ranks among the greatest autobiographies ever written.
Text: English, Italian (translation)
The gentlewoman, also slightly blushing, said: You know well that I want you to serve me; and reaching me the lily, told me to take it away; and gave me besides twenty golden crowns which she had in her bag, and added: Set me the jewel after the fashion you have sketched, and keep for me the old gold in which it is now set. On this the Roman lady observed: If I were in that young mans body, I should go off without asking leave. Madonna Porzia replied that virtues rarely are at home with vices, and that if I did such a thing, I should strongly belie my good looks of an honest man.
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