I love reading, as many of you know. I get so engrossed in a good story and clever writing. I am also particularly drawn to real-life stories, memoirs, diaries, etc. There is something so exciting about personal writings. Hearing about different cultures and norms from different time periods always astounds me. I stumbled upon quite a treasure at this huge antique barn in Newburyport, MA this past week and weekend while my parents were up here for a visit: the autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini. I am sure you can buy this book online, but I was so excited to find this treasure – I never even knew he wrote an autobiography! Holding his book, I felt like I was just let in on a great secret! I am excited to dive right into his book.
For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Benvenuto Cellini, (shame – just kidding, but seriously) he was an Italian Mannerist sculptor and goldsmith from the 1500s. Mannerism is an artistic style that gained popularity following the High Renaissance. It was considered a time of technical accomplishment as well as formulaic, theatrical and overly stylized work. It was often defined as “anti-classical”. An example of this would be exaggerations in proportions. Painter, Parmigiano practiced this in his painting “Woman with the long neck”. Another known name during the mannerist period was Jacopo Pontormo. Cellini was one of the most important artists in mannerism. One of his best known pieces is his Salt Cellar featuring Poseidon and Amphitrite. He was born in Florence, Italy on November 3, 1500. I can’t wait to see what his personality was like and to hear about this time period first hand!