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Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini (Unabridged Start Publishing LLC) [Kindle Edition]

Benvenuto Cellini
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Benvenuto Cellini was a celebrated Renaissance sculptor and goldsmith; a passionate craftsman who was admired and resented by the most powerful political and artistic personalities in sixteenth-century Florence, Rome and Paris. He was also a murderer and a braggart, a shameless adventurer who at different times experienced both papal persecution and imprisonment, and the adulation of the royal court. Inn-keepers and prostitutes, kings and cardinals, artists and soldiers rub shoulders in the pages of his notorious autobiography: a vivid portrait of the manners and morals of both the rulers of the day and of their subjects. Written with supreme powers of invective and an irrepressible sense of humour, this is an unrivalled glimpse into the palaces and prisons of the Italy of Michelangelo and the Medici.

Editorial Reviews

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.

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation)

Product Details

  • File Size: 654 KB
  • Print Length: 460 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1440086036
  • Publisher: Start Publishing LLC (June 11, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CYN4354
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,661 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shameless, vulgar, and intoxicating December 10, 2002
By A Customer
Somewhere in France, Michel Montaigne was working on his immortal "Essays." Gibbon described him as the only man of liberality in the 16th century, aside from Henry IV. His honesty, his good will, and his probing nature have recieved the acclaim of posterity.
Somewhere in Italy, the same time, a more representative portrait was being painted -- the Autobiography of Cellini. While it has the same honesty, it lacks the grace (written in a colloquial style), the liberality, and the meditation of Montaigne. It is probably more represantative of the Renaissance man, and of modern man altogether. Reading Cellini, one comes to understand what Camus meant by the "culture of death" at work in Western history.
Written as a novel (seen, in fact, as a progenitor of the Romantic novel), the Life of Cellini is a remarkable glimpse into the Italy and France in the times of Michelangelo and the Medici. Characters like Francis I of France, Duke Cosimo, Pope Clement VII, and artists like Michelangelo and Titian come to life in brilliant colors. But one shouldn't mistake the intent of Cellini's book as painting a portrait of his times -- no man on earth was ever so in love with himself, and HE is the subject of this book (I had to cringe every time Cellini, about to describe something fantastic, stops and declares "... that is the work of historians. I am only concerned with my affairs..." and leaves off).
I can't say for sure, but the veracity of this book must be almost incontestable, for the most part. Cellini was simply too shameless to be too much of a liar. A few times he tests our credulity: "mistakenly" leaving France with the King's silver, an arbesque "accidentally" firing and killing a man, etc. For the most part, however, we get the whole truth, and in fact more than we wanted to know.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic life! April 29, 2001
Cellini's story reads better than a novel. He is the quintessential Renaissance man. In his service to popes, kings and a slew of dukes he was a goldsmith, painter, sculptor, soldier and he may have had more near death experiences than any other that I have ever read about. Of course, his tale leaves himself always and forever blameless in each conflict, betrayal or other unfortunate episode that he finds himself in, which is tremendously entertaining. At first, the reader is seduced into believing that this man has been wronged countless times by a world full of the most slippery types of people. By the middle of the book, however, it dawns on the reader that Cellini must have played some part in creating the misfortune and danger that he is constantly in. Cellini's writing evokes vivid images of the places and people that he meets. One of the most engrossing stories in the book is Cellini's imprisonment and later escape from the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, where he was confined by order of the Pope (who, according to Cellini, was bent on having him killed in order to prevent his own embarrasement). His escape from the place is a mix of (apparently) classic methods (he climbs down the side of the building using knotted bed sheets!) and terrible misfortune (he breaks his leg, is nearly killed, and is also attacked by mastiffs while crawling away for his life!). Very soon after having escaped the prison, though, he was again imprisoned by the Pope in a wretched and dank little cave in the Pope's own garden (where Cellini claims to have had mystical visions). Cellini has many other adventures in Italy and France (and on his journeys back and forth). Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intimate portrait of the Renaissance February 9, 2004
There are few books about the renaissance that are as entertaining and rewarding as this autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, one of the most celebrated glodsmiths and artists of that time. The book is candid and can also serve as a tour guide of Florence for the more adventurous. Certainly I would recommnend reading it if you're thinking of visiting. Cellini describes other artsist of the time, famous spats between artists and between artists and their masters. despite the genius of the man, Cellini's book is more interetsing as a first hand docuemnt of what it was like to live in that time. One gets the imperssion of the sort of education parents siught for their children. Cellini describes this without holding back contempt, we also learn of his musical talents and his childhood. Cellini vividly describes his father beating him on the ears in order to leave the lasting impression of the wonderous sight of a salamander in the fireplace. the heart of the book is set in Rome, where he meets the Pope and is then imprisoned in the Fortress of castel Sant'Angelo - the very same made famous by Puccini's Tosca. Unlike the Puccinian Cavardossi, cellini is bale to escape thanks to the cliché use of bed linens. But remember this is not fiction. I would also suggest to thos interested in this book looking for Anatnio Vasari's "Lives of the Artists", Giovanni della Casa's "Il Galateo" and of course "The Prince" by Macchiavelli. Other renaissance accounts were written by Gucciardini and the Bolognese Paolo Giovio. As a final note I read the original Italian and parts of the English translation featured here. The Tranbslation was very good.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the least fascinating aspect of this great autobiography is how...
Not the least fascinating aspect of this great autobiography is how incredibly picaresque it is, and swashbuckling. Just one sword fight after another, among other things. Read more
Published 25 days ago by MK
4.0 out of 5 stars If you are interested in Italian Rennaisance art this is a must read!
I had read this many years ago and recommended it highly to my brother-in-law in Argentina during a recent visit. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Gretchen Zabel
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining book marred by religiosity
Cellini's portraits of the popes' and Italian princes' petty avarice is revealing. They paid him for his work with promises. He is then viciously ill-treated and imprisoned. Read more
Published 11 months ago by DouglasC
4.0 out of 5 stars Life in the 1500s
An interesting look at life in the 1500s written by a man who was an artist soldier,and a few other things just to keep your interest, and he wasn't bashful about telling his... Read more
Published 17 months ago by ragman
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
By far the best autobiography I have ever read, eminently enjoyable in every way. Cellini tells describes the juiciest bits of the Italian Renaissance culture that played out... Read more
Published 18 months ago by A. G. Tottrez
5.0 out of 5 stars the authobiography of benvenuto cellini
it was a great book and helped me with your school project. The print however shoud be larger. There also should be paragraphs which help when you are reading. Thanks
Published on October 30, 2012 by terry
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the same
I read this book many years ago. It was part of a set. In trying to find a copy of the book, I found many versions, but, recognizing the cover as the one I'd read, I opted for... Read more
Published on January 7, 2012 by Justin lives.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Autobiography to Top Them All
Okay, Ben Franklin's is supposed to be the best, but I found that one to be dull. Cellini was anything but dull. Read more
Published on April 22, 2010 by MJC
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifico
Exquisitely written beautifully illustrated by Dali, a riveting account of gentry (but not gentle)life in 16th century Italy.
Published on October 12, 2009 by Alan M. Leslie
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent translation
This translation, though old, is great. The footnotes provide information about the numerous people Cellini talks about whom we have never heard of. Read more
Published on March 12, 2009 by M. JONES
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