An exploration of the continued relevance of Benevenuto Cellini as artist and author.
Benvenuto Cellini is an incomparable source on the nature of art-making in sixteenth century Italy. A practicing artist who worked in gold, bronze, marble, and on paper, he was also the author of treatises, discourses, poems and letters about his own work and the works of contemporaries. Collectively, these works show Cellini to be an authority on the reigning ideas about the virtues and properties of artists' materials, and a vivid witness to the poetically charged processes of transforming these materials into meaningful forms. In this study, Michael Cole analyzes the media in which Cellini worked as well as his theoretical writings. Examining how Cellini and those around him viewed the act of sculpture in the late Renaissance, he situates Cellini's views in the context of the history of art, science, poetics, and ethics. Cole demonstrates Cellini's continuing relevance to the broader study of artistic theory and practice in his time.