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The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini by Benvenuto Cellini

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she would never visit me again. Then for the first time I perceived that
I had acted very wrongly; for I was losing a grand model, who brought me
honour through my art. Moreover, when I saw her body all torn and
bruised and swollen, I reflected that, even if I persuaded her to
return, I should have to put her under medical treatment for at least a
fortnight before I could make use of her.

Note 1. Leone, son of Filippo Strozzi, Knight of Jerusalem and Prior of
Capua, was, like his brother Piero, a distinguished French general.


WELL, to return to Caterina. I sent my old serving-woman, named Ruberta,
who had a most kindly disposition, to help her dress. She brought food
and drink to the miserable baggage; and after rubbing a little bacon fat
into her worst wounds, they ate what was left of the meat together. When
she had finished dressing, she went off blaspheming and cursing all
Italians in the King’s service, and so returned with tears and murmurs
to her home.

Assuredly, upon that first occasion, I felt I had done very wrong, and
Ruberta rebuked me after this fashion: “You are a cruel monster to
maltreat such a handsome girl so brutally.” When I excused my conduct by
narrating all the tricks which she and her mother had played off upon me
under my own roof, Ruberta scoldingly replied that 'that' was
nothing--that was only French manners, and she was sure there was not a
husband in France without his horns. When I heard this argument, I
laughed aloud, and then told Ruberta to go and see how Caterina was,
since I should like to employ her again while finishing the work I had
on hand. The old woman took me sharply up, saying that I had no 'savoir
vivre:' “Only wait till daybreak, and she will come of herself; whereas,
if you send to ask after her or visit her, she will give herself airs
and keep away.”

On the following morning Caterina came to our door, and knocked so
violently, that, being below, I ran to see whether it was a madman or
some member of the household. When I opened, the creature laughed and
fell upon my neck, embracing and kissing me, and asked me if I was still
angry with her. I said, “No!” Then she added: “Let me have something
good to break my fast on.” So I supplied her well with food, and partook
of it at the same table in sign of reconciliation. Afterwards I began to
model from her, during which occurred some amorous diversions; and at
last, just at the same hour as on the previous day, she irritated me to
such a pitch that I gave her the same drubbing. So we went on several
days, repeating the old round like clockwork. There was little or no
variation in the incidents.

Meanwhile, I completed my work in a style which did me the greatest
credit. Next I set about to cast it in bronze. This entailed some
difficulties, to relate which would be interesting from the point of
view of art; but since the whole history would occupy too much space, I
must omit it. Suffice it to say, that the figure came out splendidly,
and was as fine a specimen of foundry as had ever been seen. 1

Note 1. This figure was undoubtedly the Nymph of Fontainebleau.


WHILE this work was going forward, I set aside certain hours of the day
for the salt-cellar, and certain others for the Jupiter. There were more
men engaged upon the former than I had at my disposal for the latter, so
the salt-cellar was by this time completely finished. The King had now
returned to Paris; and when I paid him my respects, I took the piece
with me. As I have already related, it was oval in form, standing about
two-thirds of a cubit, wrought of solid gold, and worked entirely with
the chisel. While speaking of the model, I said before how I had
represented Sea and Earth, seated, with their legs interlaced, as we
observe in the case of firths and promontories; this attitude was
therefore metaphorically appropriate. The Sea carried a trident in his
right hand, and in his left I put a ship of delicate workmanship to hold
the salt. Below him were his four sea-horses, fashioned like our horses
from the head to the front hoofs; all the rest of their body, from the
middle backwards, resembled a fish, and the tails of these creatures
were agreeably inter-woven. Above this group the Sea sat throned in an
attitude of pride and dignity; around him were many kinds of fishes and
other creatures of the ocean. The water was represented with its waves,
and enamelled in the appropriate colour. I had portrayed Earth under the
form of a very handsome woman, holding her horn of plenty, entirely nude
like the male figure; in her left hand I placed a little temple of Ionic
architecture, most delicately wrought, which was meant to contain the
pepper. Beneath her were the handsomest living creatures which the earth
produces; and the rocks were partly enamelled, partly left in gold. The
whole piece reposed upon a base of ebony, properly proportioned, but
with a projecting cornice, upon which I introduced four golden figures
in rather more than half-relief. They represented Night, Day, Twilight,
and Dawn. I put, moreover, into the same frieze four other figures,
similar in size, and intended for the four chief winds; these were
executed, and in part enamelled, with the most exquisite refinement. 1

When I exhibited this piece to his Majesty, he uttered a loud outcry of
astonishment, and could not satiate his eyes with gazing at it. Then he
bade me take it back to my house, saying he would tell me at the proper
time what I should have to do with it. So I carried it home, and sent at
once to invite several of my best friends; we dined gaily together,
placing the salt-cellar in the middle of the table, and thus we were the
first to use it. After this, I went on working at my Jupiter in silver,
and also at the great vase I have already described, which was richly
decorated with a variety of ornaments and figures.

Note 1. This salt-cellar is now at Vienna. It is beautifully represented
by two photogravures in Plon’s great book on Cellini.


AT that time Bologna, the painter, suggested to the King that it would
be well if his Majesty sent him to Rome, with letters of recommendation,
to the end that he might cast the foremost masterpieces of antiquity,
namely, the Laocoon, the Cleopatra, the Venus, the Commodus, the
Zingara, and the Apollo. [1] These, of a truth, are by far the finest
things in Rome. He told the King that when his Majesty had once set eyes
upon those marvellous works, he would then, and not till then, be able
to criticise the arts of design, since everything which he had seen by
us moderns was far removed from the perfection of the ancients. The King
accepted his proposal, and gave him the introductions he required.
Accordingly that beast went off, and took his bad luck with him. Not
having the force and courage to contend with his own hands against me,
he adopted the truly Lombard device of depreciating my performances by
becoming a copyist of antiques. In its own proper place I shall relate
how, though he had these statues excellently cast, he obtained a result
quite contrary to his imagination.

I had now done for ever with that disreputable Caterina, and the
unfortunate young man, her husband, had decamped from Paris. Wanting
then to finish off my Fontainebleau, which was already cast in bronze,
as well as to execute the two Victories which were going to fill the
angles above the lunette of the door, I engaged a poor girl of the age
of about fifteen. She was beautifully made and of a brunette complexion.
Being somewhat savage in her ways and spare of speech, quick in
movement, with a look of sullenness about her eyes, I nicknamed her
Scorzone; [2] her real name was Jeanne. With her for model, I gave
perfect finish to the bronze Fontainebleau, and also to the two

Now this girl was a clean maid, and I got her with child. She gave birth
to a daughter on the 7th of June, at thirteen hours of the day, in 1544,
when I had exactly reached the age of forty-four. I named the infant
Costanza; and Mr. Guido Guidi, the King’s physician, and my most
intimate friend, as I have previously related, held her at the font. He
was the only godfather; for it is customary in France to have but one
godfather and two godmothers. One of the latter was Madame Maddalena,
wife to M. Luigi Alamanni, a gentleman of Florence and an accomplished
poet. The other was the wife of M. Ricciardo del Bene, our Florentine
burgher, and a great merchant in Paris; she was herself a French lady of
distinguished family. This was the first child I ever had, so far as I
remember. I settled money enough upon the girl for dowry to satisfy an
aunt of hers, under whose tutelage I placed her, and from that time
forwards I had nothing more to do with her.

Note 1. The Cleopatra is that recumbent statue of a sleeping Ariadne or
Bacchante now in the Vatican. The Venus (neither the Medicean nor the
Capitoline) represents the goddess issuing from the bath; it is now in
the Museo Pio Clementino of the Vatican. The Commodus is a statue of
Hercules, with the lion’s skin and an infant in his arms, also in the
Vatican. The Zingara may be a statue of Diana forming part of the
Borghese collection. The Apollo is the famous Belvedere Apollo of the

Note 2. That is, in Italian, “the rough rind,” a name given to rustics.
'Scorzone' is also the name for a little black venomous serpent.


BY labouring incessantly I had now got my various works well forward;
the Jupiter was nearly finished, and the vase also; the door began to
reveal its beauties. At that time the King came to Paris; and though I
gave the right date of the year 1544 for my daughter’s birth, we were
still in 1543; but an opportunity of mentioning my daughter having
arisen, I availed myself of it, so as not to interrupt the narrative of
more important things. Well, the King, as I have said, came to Paris,
and paid me a visit soon after his arrival. The magnificent show of
works brought well-nigh to completion was enough to satisfy anybody’s
eye; and indeed it gave that glorious monarch no less contentment than
the artist who had worked so hard upon them desired. While inspecting
these things, it came into his head that the Cardinal of Ferrara had
fulfilled none of his promises to me, either as regarded a pension or
anything else. Whispering with his Admiral, he said that the Cardinal of
Ferrara had behaved very badly in the matter; and that he intended to
make it up to me himself, because he saw I was a man of few words, who
in the twinkling of an eye might decamp without complaining or asking

On returning home, his Majesty, after dinner, told the Cardinal to give
orders to his treasurer of the Exchequer that he should pay me at an
early date seven thousand crowns of gold, in three or four instalments,
according to his own convenience, provided only that he executed the
commission faithfully. At the same time he repeated words to this
effect: “I gave Benvenuto into your charge, and you have forgotten all
about him.” The Cardinal said that he would punctually perform his
Majesty’s commands; but his own bad nature made him wait till the King’s
fit of generosity was over. Meanwhile wars and rumours of wars were on
the increase; it was the moment when the Emperor with a huge army was
marching upon Paris. [1] Seeing the realm of France to be in great need
of money, the Cardinal one day began to talk of me, and said: “Sacred
Majesty, acting for the best, I have not had that money given to
Benvenuto. First, it is sorely wanted now for public uses. Secondly, so
great a donation would have exposed you to the risk of losing Benvenuto
altogether; for if he found himself a rich man, he might have invested
his money in Italy, and the moment some caprice took of him, he would
have decamped without hesitation. I therefore consider that your
Majesty’s best course will be to present him with something in your
kingdom, if you want to keep him in your service for any length of
time.” The King, being really in want of money, approved of these
arguments; nevertheless, like the noble soul he was, and truly worthy of
his royal station, he judged rightly that the Cardinal had acted thus in
order to curry favour rather than from any clear prevision of distressed
finances in so vast a realm.

Note 1. In 1544 Charles V. advanced toward Champagne and threatened
Paris, while the English were besieging Boulogne.


AS I have just said, his Majesty affected to concur with the Cardinal,
but his own private mind was otherwise made up. Accordingly, upon the
day after his arrival, without solicitation upon my part, he came of his
own accord to my house. I went to meet him, and conducted him through
several rooms where divers works of art were on view. Beginning with the
less important, I pointed out a quantity of things in bronze; and it was
long since he had seen so many at once. Then I took him to see the
Jupiter in silver, now nearly completed, with all its splendid
decorations. It so happened that a grievous disappointment which he had
suffered a few years earlier, made him think this piece more admirable
than it might perhaps have appeared to any other man. The occasion to
which I refer was this: After the capture of Tunis, the Emperor passed
through Paris with the consent of his brother-in-law, King Francis, [1]
who wanted to present him with something worthy of so great a potentate.
Having this in view, he ordered a Hercules to be executed in silver,
exactly of the same size as my Jupiter. The King declared this Hercules
to be the ugliest work of art that he had ever seen, and spoke his
opinion plainly to the craftsmen of Paris. They vaunted themselves to be
the ablest craftsmen in the world for works of this kind, and informed
the King that nothing more perfect could possibly have been produced in
silver, insisting at the same time upon being paid two thousand ducats
for their filthy piece of work. This made the King, when he beheld mine,
affirm that the finish of its workmanship exceeded his highest
expectations. Accordingly he made an equitable judgment, and had my
statue valued also at two thousand ducats, saying: “I gave those other
men no salary; Cellini, who gets about a thousand crowns a year from me,
can surely let me have this masterpiece for two thousand crowns of gold,
since he has his salary into the bargain.” Then I exhibited other things
in gold and silver, and a variety of models for new undertakings. At the
last, just when he was taking leave, I pointed out upon the lawn of the
castle that great giant, which roused him to higher astonishment than
any of the other things he had inspected. Turning to his Admiral, who
was called Monsignor Aniballe, [2] he said: “Since the Cardinal had made
him no provision, we must do so, and all the more because the man
himself is so slow at asking favours--to cut it short, I mean to have
him well provided for; yes, these men who ask for nothing feel that
their masterpieces call aloud for recompense; therefore see that he gets
the first abbey that falls vacant worth two thousand crowns a year. If
this cannot be had in one benefice, let him have two or three to that
amount, for in his case it will come to the same thing.” As I was
standing by, I could hear what the King said, and thanked his Majesty at
once for the donation, as though I were already in possession. I told
him that as soon as his orders were carried into effect, I would work
for his Majesty without other salary or recompense of any kind until old
age deprived me of the power to labour, when I hoped to rest my tired
body in peace, maintaining myself with honour on that income, and always
bearing in mind that I had served so great a monarch as his Majesty. At
the end of this speech the King turned toward me with a lively gesture
and a joyous countenance, saying, “So let it then be done.” After that
he departed, highly satisfied with what he had seen there.

Note 1. In the year 1539 Charles V obtained leave to traverse France
with his army on the way Flanders.

Note 2. Claude d’ Annebault; captured at Pavia with François; Marshall
in 1538; Admiral of France in 1543.


MADAME D’ETAMPES, when she heard how well my affairs were going,
redoubled her spite against me, saying in her own heart: “It is I who
rule the world to-day, and a little fellow like that snaps his fingers
at me! She put every iron into the fire which she could think of, in
order to stir up mischief against me. Now a certain man fell in her way,
who enjoyed great fame as a distiller; he supplied her with perfumed
waters, which were excellent for the complexion, and hitherto unknown in
France. This fellow she introduced to the King, who was much delighted
by the processes for distilling which he exhibited. While engaged in
these experiments, the man begged his Majesty to give him a tennis-court
I had in my castle, together with some little apartments which he said I
did not use. The good King, guessing who was at the bottom of the
business, made no answer; but Madame d’Etampes used those wiles with
which women know so well to work on men, and very easily succeeded in
her enterprise; for having taken the King at a moment of amorous
weakness, to which he was much subject, she wheedled him into conceding
what she wanted.

The distiller came, accompanied by Treasurer Grolier, a very great
nobleman of France, who spoke Italian excellently, and when he entered
my castle, began to jest with me in that language. [1] Watching his
opportunity, [2] he said: “In the King’s name I put this man here into
possession of that tennis-court, together with the lodgings that pertain
to it.” To this I answered: “The sacred King is lord of all things here:
so then you might have effected an entrance with more freedom: coming
thus with notaries and people of the court looks more like a fraud than
the mandate of a powerful monarch. I assure you that, before I carry my
complaints before the King, I shall defend my right in the way his
Majesty gave me orders two days since to do. I shall fling the man whom
you have put upon me out of windows if I do not see a warrant under the
King’s own hand and seal.” After this speech the treasurer went off
threatening and grumbling, and I remained doing the same, without,
however, beginning the attack at once. Then I went to the notaries who
had put the fellow in possession. I was well acquainted with them; and
they gave me to understand that this was a formal proceeding, done
indeed at the King’s orders, but which had not any great significance;
if I had offered some trifling opposition the fellow would not have
installed himself as he had done. The formalities were acts and customs
of the court, which did not concern obedience to the King; consequently,
if I succeeded in ousting him, I should have acted rightly, and should
not incur any risk.

This hint was enough for me, and next morning I had recourse to arms;
and though the job cost me some trouble, I enjoyed it. Each day that
followed, I made an attack with stones, pikes and arquebuses, firing,
however, without ball; nevertheless, I inspired such terror that no one
dared to help my antagonist. Accordingly, when I noticed one day that
his defence was feeble, I entered the house by force, and expelled the
fellow, turning all his goods and chattels into the street. Then I
betook me to the King, and told him that I had done precisely as his
Majesty had ordered, by defending myself against every one who sought to
hinder me in his service. The King laughed at the matter, and made me
out new letters-patent to secure me from further molestation. 3

Note 1. Jean Grolier, the famous French Mæcenas, collector of books,
antiquities, &c.

Note 2. 'Vedendo il bello.'

Note 3. This document exists, and is dated July 15, 1544. See 'Bianchi,'
p. 585.


IN the meantime I brought my silver Jupiter to completion, together with
its gilded pedestal, which I placed upon a wooden plinth that only
showed a very little; upon the plinth I introduced four little round
balls of hard wood, more than half hidden in their sockets, like the nut
of a crossbow. They were so nicely arranged that a child could push the
statue forward and backwards, or turn it round with ease. Having
arranged it thus to my mind, I went with it to Fountainebleau, where the
King was then residing.

At that time, Bologna, of whom I have already said so much, had brought
from Rome his statues, and had cast them very carefully in bronze. I
knew nothing about this, partly because he kept his doings very dark,
and also because Fontainebleau is forty miles distant from Paris. On
asking the King where he wanted me to set up my Jupiter, Madame
d’Etampes, who happened to be present, told him there was no place more
appropriate than his own handsome gallery. This was, as we should say in
Tuscany, a loggia, or, more exactly, a large lobby; it ought indeed to
be called a lobby, because what we mean by loggia is open at one side.
The hall was considerably longer than 100 paces, decorated, and very
rich with pictures from the hand of that admirable Rosso, our Florentine
master. Among the pictures were arranged a great variety of sculptured
works, partly in the round, and partly in bas-relief. The breadth was
about twelve paces. Now Bologna had brought all his antiques into this
gallery, wrought with great beauty in bronze, and had placed them in a
handsome row upon their pedestals; and they were, as I have said, the
choicest of the Roman antiquities. Into this same gallery I took my
Jupiter; and when I saw that grand parade, so artfully planned, I said
to myself: “This is like running the gauntlet; [1] now may God assist
me.” I placed the statue, and having arranged it as well as I was able,
waited for the coming of the King. The Jupiter was raising his
thunderbolt with the right hand in the act to hurl it; his left hand
held the globe of the world. Among the flames of the thunderbolt I had
very cleverly introduced a torch of white wax. Now Madame d’Etampes
detained the King till nightfall, wishing to do one of two mischiefs,
either to prevent his coming, or else to spoil the effect of my work by
its being shown off after dark; but as God has promised to those who
trust in Him, it turned out exactly opposite to her calculations; for
when night came, I set fire to the torch, which standing higher than the
head of Jupiter, shed light from above and showed the statue far better
than by daytime.

At length the King arrived; he was attended by his Madame d’Etampes, his
son the Dauphin and the Dauphinéss, together with the King of Navarre
his brother-in-law, Madame Marguerite his daughter, [2] and several
other great lords, who had been instructed by Madame d’Etampes to speak
against me. When the King appeared, I made my prentice Ascanio push the
Jupiter toward his Majesty. As it moved smoothly forwards, my cunning in
its turn was amply rewarded, for this gentle motion made the figure seem
alive; the antiques were left in the background, and my work was the
first to take the eye with pleasure. The King exclaimed at once: “This
is by far the finest thing that has ever been seen; and I, although I am
an amateur and judge of art, could never have conceived the hundredth
part of its beauty.” The lords whose cue it was to speak against me, now
seemed as though they could not praise my masterpiece enough. Madame
d’Etampes said boldly: “One would think you had no eyes! Don’t you see
all those fine bronzes from the antique behind there? In those consists
the real distinction of this art, and not in that modern trumpery.” Then
the King advanced, and the others with him. After casting a glance at
the bronzes, which were not shown to advantage from the light being
below them, he exclaimed: “Whoever wanted to injure this man has done
him a great service; for the comparison of these admirable statues
demonstrates the immeasurable superiority of his work in beauty and in
art. Benvenuto deserves to be made much of, for his performances do not
merely rival, but surpass the antique.” In reply to this, Madame
d’Etampes observed that my Jupiter would not make anything like so fine
a show by daylight; besides, one had to consider that I had put a veil
upon my statue to conceal its faults. I had indeed flung a gauze veil
with elegance and delicacy over a portion of my statue, with the view of
augmenting its majesty. This, when she had finished speaking, I lifted
from beneath, uncovering the handsome genital members of the god; then
tore the veil to pieces with vexation. She imagined I had disclosed
those parts of the statue to insult her. The King noticed how angry she
was, while I was trying to force some words out in my fury; so he wisely
spoke, in his own language, precisely as follows: “Benvenuto, I forbid
you to speak; hold your tongue, and you shall have a thousand times more
wealth than you desire.” Not being allowed to speak, I writhed my body
in a rage; this made her grumble with redoubled spite; and the King
departed sooner than he would otherwise have done, calling aloud,
however, to encourage me: “I have brought from Italy the greatest man
who ever lived, endowed with all the talents.”

Note 1. 'Questo si è come passare in fra le picche.'

Note 2. Born 1523. Married Emmanuele Filiberto, Duke of Savoy, in 1559.
Died 1574.


I LEFT the Jupiter there, meaning to depart the next morning. Before I
took horse, one thousand crowns were paid me, partly for my salary, and
partly on account of monies I had disbursed. Having received this sum, I
returned with a light heart and satisfied to Paris. No sooner had I
reached home and dined with merry cheer, than I called for all my
wardrobe, which included a great many suits of silk, choice furs, and
also very fine cloth stuffs. From these I selected presents for my
workpeople, giving each something according to his own desert, down to
the servant-girls and stable-boys, in order to encourage them to aid me

Being then refreshed in strength and spirits, I attacked the great
statue of Mars, which I had set up solidly upon a frame of
well-connected woodwork. [1] Over this there lay a crust of plaster,
about the eighth of a cubit in thickness, carefully modelled for the
flesh of the Colossus. Lastly, I prepared a great number of moulds in
separate pieces to compose the figure, intending to dovetail them
together in accordance with the rules of art; and this task involved no

I will not here omit to relate something which may serve to give a
notion of the size of this great work, and is at the same time highly
comic. It must first be mentioned that I had forbidden all the men who
lived at my cost to bring light women into my house or anywhere within
the castle precincts. Upon this point of discipline I was extremely
strict. Now may lad Ascanio loved a very handsome girl, who returned his
passion. One day she gave her mother the slip, and came to see Ascanio
at night. Finding that she would not take her leave, and being driven to
his wits’ ends to conceal her, like a person of resources, he hit at
last upon the plan of installing her inside the statue. There, in the
head itself, he made her up a place to sleep in; this lodging she
occupied some time, and he used to bring her forth at whiles with
secrecy at night. I meanwhile having brought this part of the Colossus
almost to completion, left it alone, and indulged my vanity a bit by
exposing it to sight; it could, indeed be seen by more than half Paris.
The neighbours, therefore, took to climbing their house-roofs, and
crowds came on purpose to enjoy the spectacle. Now there was a legend in
the city that my castle had from olden times been haunted by a spirit,
though I never noticed anything to confirm this belief; and folk in
Paris called it popularly by the name of Lemmonio Boreò. [2] The girl,
while she sojourned in the statue’s head, could not prevent some of her
movements to and fro from being perceptible through its eye-holes; this
made stupid people say that the ghost had got into the body of the
figure, and was setting its eyes in motion, and its mouth, as though it
were about to talk. Many of them went away in terror; others, more
incredulous, came to observe the phenomenon, and when they were unable
to deny the flashing of the statue’s eyes, they too declared their
credence in a spirit--not guessing that there was a spirit there, and
sound young flesh to boot.

Note 1. This was what he called the Colossus above, p. 310. He meant it
for the fountain of Fontainebleau. See p. 295.

Note 2. Properly, 'Le Moine Bourru,' the ghost of a monk dressed in
drugget ('bure'). Le Petit Nesle had a bad reputation on account of the
murders said to have been committed there in the fourteenth century by
Queen Jeanne, wife of Philip V.


ALL this while I was engaged in putting my door together, with its
several appurtenances. As it is no part of my purpose to include in this
autobiography such things as annalists record, I have omitted the coming
of the Emperor with his great host, and the King’s mustering of his
whole army. [1] At the time when these events took place, his Majesty
sought my advice with regard to the instantaneous fortification of
Paris. He came on purpose to my house, and took me all round the city;
and when he found that I was prepared to fortify the town with
expedition on a sound plan, he gave express orders that all my
suggestions should be carried out. His Admiral was directed to command
the citizens to obey me under pain of his displeasure.

Now the Admiral had been appointed through Madame d’Etampes’ influence
rather than from any proof of his ability, for he was a man of little
talent. He bore the name of M. d’Annebault, which in our tongue is
Monsignor d’Aniballe; but the French pronounce it so that they usually
made it sound like Monsignore Asino Bue. [2] This animal then referred
to Madame d’Etampes for advice upon the matter, and she ordered him to
summon Girolamo Bellarmato without loss of time. [3] He was an engineer
from Siena, at that time in Dieppe, which is rather more than a day’s
journey distant from the capital. He came at once, and set the work of
fortification going on a very tedious method, which made me throw the
job up. If the Emperor had pushed forward at this time, he might easily
have taken Paris. People indeed said that, when a treaty of peace was
afterwards concluded, Madame d’Etampes, who took more part in it than
anybody else, betrayed the King. [4] I shall pass this matter over
without further words, since it has nothing to do with the plan of my
'Memoirs.' Meanwhile, I worked diligently at the door, and finished the
vase, together with two others of middling size, which I made of my own
silver. At the end of those great troubles, the King came to take his
ease awhile in Paris.

That accursed woman seemed born to be the ruin of the world. I ought
therefore to think myself of some account, seeing she held me for her
mortal enemy. Happening to speak one day with the good King about my
matters, she abused me to such an extent that he swore, in order to
appease her, he would take no more heed of me thenceforward than if he
had never set eyes upon my face. These words were immediately brought me
by a page of Cardinal Ferrara, called Il Villa, who said he had heard
the King utter them. I was infuriated to such a pitch that I dashed my
tools across the room and all the things I was at work on, made my
arrangements to quit France, and went upon the spot to find the King.
When he had dined, I was shown into a room where I found his Majesty in
the company of a very few persons. After I had paid him the respects due
to kings, he bowed his head with a gracious smile. This revived hope in
me; so I drew nearer to his Majesty, for they were showing him some
things in my own line of art; and after we had talked awhile about such
matters, he asked if I had anything worth seeing at my house, and next
inquired when I should like him to come. I replied that I had some
pieces ready to show his Majesty, if he pleased, at once. He told me to
go home and he would come immediately.

Note 1. Toward the end of August 1544, the Imperial army advanced as far
as Epernay, within twenty leagues of Paris.

Note 2. 'I. e.,' ass-ox, 'Ane-et-bo.'

Note 3. Girolamo Bellarmati, a learned mathematicians and military
architect, banished from Siena for political reasons. He designed the
harbour of Havre.

Note 4. There is indeed good reason to believe that the King’s mistress,
in her jealousy of the Dauphin and Diane de Poitiers, played false, and
enabled the Imperialists to advance beyond Epernay.


I WENT accordingly, and waited for the good King’s visit, who, it seems,
had gone meanwhile to take leave of Madame d’Etampes. She asked whither
he was bound, adding that she would accompany him; but when he informed
her, she told him that she would not go, and begged him as a special
favour not to go himself that day. She had to return to the charge more
than twice before she shook the King’s determination; however, he did
not come to visit me that day. Next morning I went to his Majesty at the
same hour; and no sooner had he caught sight of me, than he swore it was
his intention to come to me upon the spot. Going then, according to his
wont, to take leave of his dear Madame d’Etampes, this lady saw that all
her influence had not been able to divert him from his purpose; so she
began with that biting tongue of hers to say the worst of me that could
be insinuated against a deadly enemy of this most worthy crown of
France. The good King appeased her by replying that the sole object of
his visit was to administer such a scolding as should make me tremble in
my shoes. This he swore to do upon his honour. Then he came to my house,
and I conducted him through certain rooms upon the basement, where I had
put the whole of my great door together. Upon beholding it, the King was
struck with stupefaction, and quite lost his cue for reprimanding me, as
he had promised Madame d’Etampes. Still he did not choose to go away
without finding some opportunity for scolding; so he began in this wise:
“There is one most important matter, Benvenuto, which men of your sort,
though full of talent, ought always to bear in mind; it is that you
cannot bring your great gifts to light by your own strength alone; you
show your greatness only through the opportunities we give you. Now you
ought to be a little more submissive, not so arrogant and headstrong. I
remember that I gave you express orders to make me twelve silver
statues; and this was all I wanted. You have chosen to execute a
salt-cellar, and vases and busts and doors, and a heap of other things,
which quite confound me, when I consider how you have neglected my
wishes and worked for the fulfillment of your own. If you mean to go on
in this way, I shall presently let you understand what is my own method
of procedure when I choose to have things done in my own way. I tell
you, therefore, plainly: do your utmost to obey my commands; for if you
stick to your own fancies, you will run your head against a wall.” While
he was uttering these words, his lords in waiting hung upon the King’s
lips, seeing him shake his head, frown, and gesticulate, now with one
hand and now with the other. The whole company of attendants, therefore,
quaked with fear for me; but I stood firm, and let no breath of fear
pass over me.


WHEN he had wound up this sermon, agreed upon beforehand with his
darling Madame d’Etampes, I bent one leg upon the ground, and kissed his
coat above the knee. Then I began my speech as follows: “Sacred Majesty,
I admit that all that you have said is true. Only, in reply, I protest
that my heart has ever been, by day and night, with all my vital forces,
bent on serving you and executing your commands. If it appears to your
Majesty that my actions contradict these words, let your Majesty be sure
that Benvenuto was not at fault, but rather possibly my evil fate or
adverse fortune, which has made me unworthy to serve the most admirable
prince who ever blessed this earth. Therefore I crave your pardon. I was
under the impression, however, that your Majesty had given me silver for
one statue only; having no more at my disposal, I could not execute
others; so, with the surplus which remained for use, I made this vase,
to show your Majesty the grand style of the ancients. Perhaps you never
had seen anything of the sort before. As for the salt-cellar, I thought,
if my memory does not betray me, that your Majesty on one occasion
ordered me to make it of your own accord. The conversation falling upon
something of the kind which had been brought for your inspection, I
showed you a model made by me in Italy; you, following the impulse of
your own mind only, had a thousand golden ducats told out for me to
execute the piece withal, thanking me in addition for my hint; and what
is more, I seem to remember that you commended me highly when it was
completed. As regards the door, it was my impression that, after we had
chanced to speak about it at some time or other, your Majesty gave
orders to your chief secretary, M. Villerois, from whom the order passed
to M. de Marmagne and M. de la Fa, to this effect, that all these
gentlemen should keep me going at the work, and see that I obtained the
necessary funds. Without such commission I should certainly not have
been able to advance so great an undertaking on my own resources. As for
the bronze heads, the pedestal of Jupiter and other such-like things, I
will begin by saying that I cast those heads upon my own account, in
order to become acquainted with French clays, of which, as a foreigner,
I had no previous knowledge whatsoever. Unless I had made the
experiment, I could not have set about casting those large works. Now,
touching the pedestals, I have to say that I made them because I judged
them necessary to the statues. Consequently, in all that I have done, I
meant to act for the best, and at no point to swerve from your Majesty’s
expressed wishes. It is indeed true that I set that huge Colossus up to
satisfy my own desire, paying for it from my own purse, even to the
point which it has reached, because I thought that, you being the great
King you are, and I the trifling artist that I am, it was my duty to
erect for your glory and my own a statue, the like of which the ancients
never saw. Now, at the last, having been taught that God is not inclined
to make me worthy of so glorious a service, I beseech your Majesty,
instead of the noble recompense you had in mind to give me for my
labours, bestow upon me only one small trifle of your favour, and
therewith the leave to quit your kingdom. At this instant, if you
condescend to my request, I shall return to Italy, always thanking God
and your Majesty for the happy hours which I have passed in serving you.”


THE KING stretched forth his own hands and raised me very graciously.
Then he told me that I ought to continue in his service, and that all
that I had done was right and pleasing to him. Turning to the lords in
his company, he spoke these words precisely: “I verily believe that a
finer door could not be made for Paradise itself.” When he had ceased
speaking, although his speech had been entirely in my favour, I again
thanked him respectfully, repeating, however, my request for leave to
travel; for the heat of my indignation had not yet cooled down. His
Majesty, feeling that I set too little store upon his unwonted and
extraordinary condescension, commanded me with a great and terrible
voice to hold my tongue, unless I wanted to incur his wrath; afterwards
he added that he would drown me in gold, and that he gave me the leave I
asked; and over and above the works he had commissioned, [1] he was very
well satisfied with what I had done on my account in the interval; I
should never henceforth have any quarrels with him, because he knew my
character; and for my part, I too ought to study the temper of his
Majesty, as my duty required. I answered that I thanked God and his
Majesty for everything; then I asked him to come and see how far I had
advanced the Great Colossus. So he came to my house, and I had the
statue uncovered; he admired it extremely, and gave orders to his
secretary to pay me all the money I had spent upon it, be the sum what
it might, provided I wrote the bill out in my own hand. Then he departed
saying: “Adieu, mon ami,” which is a phrase not often used by kings.

Note 1. The MSS. in this phrase vary, and the meaning is not quite
clear. According to one reading, the sense would be: “Though the works
he had commissioned were not yet begun.” But this involves an awkward
use of the word 'dipoi.'


AFTER returning to his palace, he called to mind the words I had spoken
in our previous interview, some of which were so excessively humble, and
others so proud and haughty, that they caused him no small irritation.
He repeated a few of them in the presence of Madame d’Etampes and
Monsignor di San Polo, a great baron of France. [1] This man had always
professed much friendship for me in the past, and certainly, on that
occasion, he showed his good-will, after the French fashion, with great
cleverness. It happened thus: the King in the course of a long
conversation complained that the Cardinal of Ferrara, to whose care he
had entrusted me, never gave a thought to my affairs; so far as he was
concerned, I might have decamped from the realm; therefore he must
certainly arrange for committing me to some one who would appreciate me
better, because he did not want to run a farther risk of losing me. At
these words Monsieur de Saint Paul expressed his willingness to
undertake the charge, saying that if the King appointed him my guardian,
he would act so that I should never have the chance to leave the
kingdom. The King replied that he was very well satisfied, if only Saint
Paul would explain the way in which he meant to manage me. Madame sat by
with an air of sullen irritation and Saint Paul stood on his dignity,
declining to answer the King’s question. When the King repeated it, he
said, to curry favour with Madame d’Etampes: “I would hang that
Benvenuto of yours by the neck, and thus you would keep him for ever in
your kingdom.” She broke into a fit of laughter, protesting that I
richly deserved it. The King, to keep them company, began to laugh, and
said he had no objection to Saint Paul hanging me, if he could first
produce my equal in the arts; and although I had not earned such a fate,
he gave him full liberty and license. In this way that day ended, and I
came off safe and sound, for which may God be praised and thanked.

Note 1. François de Bourbon, Comte de Saint Paul, one of the chief
companions in arms and captains of François I.


THE KING had now made peace with the Emperor, but not with the English,
and these devils were keeping us in constant agitation. [1] His Majesty
had therefore other things than pleasure to attend to. He ordered Piero
Strozzi to go with ships of war into the English waters; but this was a
very difficult undertaking, even for that great commander, without a
paragon in his times in the art of war, and also without a paragon in
his misfortunes. Several months passed without my receiving money or
commissions; accordingly, I dismissed my work people with the exception
of the two Italians, whom I set to making two big vases out of my own
silver; for these men could not work in bronze. After they had finished
these, I took them to a city which belonged to the Queen of Navarre; it
is called Argentana, and is distant several days’ journey from Paris.
[2] On arriving at this place, I found that the King was indisposed; and
the Cardinal of Ferrara told his Majesty that I was come. He made no
answer, which obliged me to stay several days kicking my heels. Of a
truth, I never was more uncomfortable in my life; but at last I
presented myself one evening and offered the two vases for the King’s
inspection. He was excessively delighted, and when I saw him in good
homier, I begged his Majesty to grant me the favour of permitting me to
travel into Italy; I would leave the seven months of my salary which
were due, and his Majesty might condescend to pay me when I required
money for my return journey. I entreated him to grant this petition,
seeing that the times were more for fighting than for making statues;
moreover, his Majesty had allowed a similar license to Bologna the
painter, wherefore I humbly begged him to concede the same to me. While
I was uttering these words the King kept gazing intently on the vases,
and from time to time shot a terrible glance at me; nevertheless, I went
on praying to the best of my ability that he would favour my petition.
All of a sudden he rose angrily from his seat, and said to me in
Italian: “Benvenuto, you are a great fool. Take these vases back to
Paris, for I want to have them gilt.” Without making any other answer he
then departed.

I went up to the Cardinal of Ferrara, who was present, and besought him,
since he had already conferred upon me the great benefit of freeing me
from prison in Rome, with many others besides, to do me this one favour
more of procuring for me leave to travel into Italy. He answered that he
should be very glad to do his best to gratify me in this matter; I might
leave it without farther thought to him, and even if I chose, might set
off at once, because he would act for the best in my interest with the
King. I told the Cardinal that since I was aware his Majesty had put me
under the protection of his most reverend lordship, if he gave me leave,
I felt ready to depart, and promised to return upon the smallest hint
from his reverence. The Cardinal then bade me go back to Paris and wait
there eight days, during which time he would procure the King’s license
for me; if his Majesty refused to let me go, he would without fail
inform me; but if I received no letters, that would be a sign that I
might set off with an easy mind.

Note 1. The peace of Crépy was concluded September 18, 1544. The English
had taken Boulogne four days earlier. Peace between France and England
was not concluded till June 7, 1546.

Note 2. Argentan, the city of the Duchy of Alencon. Margaret, it will be
remembered, had been first married to the Duc d’Alencon, and after his
death retained his fiefs.


I OBEYED the Cardinal, and returned to Paris, where I made excellent
cases for my three silver vases, After the lapse of twenty days, I began
my preparations, and packed the three vases upon a mule. This animal had
been lent me for the journey to Lyons by the Bishop of Pavia, who was
now once more installed in my castle.

Then I departed in my evil hour, together with Signor Ippolito Gonzaga,
at that time in the pay of the King, and also in the service of Count
Galeotto della Mirandola. Some other gentlemen of the said count went
with us, as well as Lionardo Tedaldi, our fellow-citizen of Florence.

I made Ascanio and Pagolo guardians of my castle and all my property,
including two little vases which were only just begun; those I left
behind in order that the two young men might not be idle. I had lived
very handsomely in Paris, and therefore there was a large amount of
costly household furniture: the whole value of these effects exceeded
1500 crowns. I bade Ascanio remember what great benefits I had bestowed
upon him, and that up to the present he had been a mere thoughtless lad;
the time was now come for him to show the prudence of a man; therefore I
thought fit to leave him in the custody of all my goods, as also of my
honour. If he had the least thing to complain of from those brutes of
Frenchmen, he was to let me hear at once, because I would take post and
fly from any place in which I found myself, not only to discharge the
great obligations under which I lay to that good King, but also to
defend my honour. Ascanio replied with the tears of a thief and
hypocrite: “I have never known a father better than you are, and all
things which a good son is bound to perform for a good father will I
ever do for you.” So then I took my departure, attended by a servant and
a little French lad.

It was just past noon, when some of the King’s treasurers, by no means
friends of mine, made a visit to my castle. The rascally fellows began
by saying that I had gone off with the King’s silver, and told Messer
Guido and the Bishop of Pavia to send at once off after his Majesty’s
vases; if not, they would themselves despatch a messenger to get them
back, and do me some great mischief. The Bishop and Messer Guido were
much more frightened than was necessary; so they sent that traitor
Ascanio by the post off on the spot. He made his appearance before me
about midnight. I had not been able to sleep, and kept revolving sad
thoughts to the following effect: “In whose hands have I left my
property, my castle? Oh, what a fate is this of mine, which forces me to
take this journey! May God grant only that the Cardinal is not of one
mind with Madame d’Etampes, who has nothing else so much at heart as to
make me lose the grace of that good King.”


WHILE I was thus dismally debating with myself, I heard Ascanio calling
me. On the instant I jumped out of bed, and asked if he brought good or
evil tidings. The knave answered: “They are good news I bring; but you
must only send back those three vases, for the rascally treasurers keep
shouting, ‘Stop thief!’ So the Bishop and Messer Guido say that you must
absolutely send them back. For the rest you need have no anxiety, but
may pursue your journey with a light heart.” I handed over the vases
immediately, two of them being my own property, together with the silver
and much else besides. [1] I had meant to take them to the Cardinal of
Ferrara’s abbey at Lyons; for though people accused me of wanting to
carry them into Italy, everybody knows quite well that it is impossible
to export money, gold, or silver from France without special license.
Consider, therefore, whether I could have crossed the frontier with
those three great vases, which, together with their cases, were a whole
mule’s burden! It is certainly true that, since these articles were of
great value and the highest beauty, I felt uneasiness in case the King
should die, and I had lately left him in a very bad state of health;
therefore I said to myself: “If such an accident should happen, having
these things in the keeping of the Cardinal, I shall not lose them.”

Well, to cut the story short, I sent back the mule with the vases, and
other things of importance; then, upon the following morning, I
travelled forward with the company I have already mentioned, nor could
I, through the whole journey, refrain from sighing and weeping.
Sometimes, however, I consoled myself with God by saying: “Lord God,
before whose eyes the truth lies open! Thou knowest that my object in
this journey is only to carry alms to six poor miserable virgins and
their mother, my own sister. They have indeed their father, but he is
very old, and gains nothing by his trade; I fear, therefore, lest they
might too easily take to a bad course of life. Since, then, I am
performing a true act of piety, I look to Thy Majesty for aid and
counsel.” This was all the recreation I enjoyed upon my forward journey.

We were one day distant from Lyons, and it was close upon the hour of
twenty-two, when the heavens began to thunder with sharp rattling claps,
although the sky was quite clear at the time. [2] I was riding a
cross-bow shot before my comrades. After the thunder the heavens made a
noise so great and horrible that I thought the last day had come; so I
reined in for a moment, while a shower of hail began to fall without a
drop of water. A first hail was somewhat larger than pellets from a
popgun, and when these struck me, they hurt considerably. Little by
little it increased in size, until the stones might be compared to balls
from a crossbow. My horse became restive with fright; so I wheeled
round, and returned at a gallop to where I found my comrades taking
refuge in a fir-wood. The hail now grew to the size of big lemons. I
began to sing a Miserere; and while I was devoutly uttering this psalm
to God, there fell a stone so huge that it smashed the thick branches of
the pine under which I had retired for safety. Another of the hailstones
hit my horse upon the head, and almost stunned him; one struck me also,
but not directly, else it would have killed me. In like manner, poor old
Lionardo Tedaldi, who like me was kneeling on the ground, received so
shrewd a blow that he fell grovelling upon all fours. When I saw that
the fir bough offered no protection, and that I ought to act as well as
to intone my Misereres, I began at once to wrap my mantle round my head.
At the same time I cried to Lionardo, who was shrieking for succour,
“Jesus! Jesus!” that Jesus would help him if he helped himself. I had
more trouble in looking after this man’s safety than my own. The storm
raged for some while, but at last it stopped; and we, who were pounded
black and blue, scrambled as well as we could upon our horses. Pursuing
the way to our lodging for the night, we showed our scratches and
bruises to each other; but about a mile farther on we came upon a scene
of devastation which surpassed what we had suffered, and defies
description. All the trees were stripped of their leaves and shattered;
the beasts in the field lay dead; many of the herdsmen had also been
killed; we observed large quantities of hailstones which could not have
been grasped with two hands. Feeling then that we had come well out of a
great peril, we acknowledged that our prayers to God and Misereres had
helped us more than we could have helped ourselves. Returning thanks to
God, therefore, we entered Lyons in the course of the next day, and
tarried there eight days. At the end of this time, being refreshed in
strength and spirits, we resumed our journey, and passed the mountains
without mishap. On the other side I bought a little pony, because the
baggage which I carried had somewhat overtired my horses.

Note 1. 'Con l’argento e ogni cosal.' These words refer perhaps to the
vases: 'the silver and everything pertaining to them.'

Note 2. 'E l’aria era bianchissima.' Perhaps this ought to be: 'and the
air blazed with lightnings.' Goethe takes it as I do above.


AFTER we had been one day in Italy, the Count Galeotto della Mirandola
joined us. He was travelling by post; and stopping where we were, he
told me that I had done wrong to leave France; I ought not to journey
forwards, for, if I returned at once, my affairs would be more
prosperous than ever. On the other hand, if I persisted in my course, I
was giving the game up to my enemies, and furnishing them with
opportunities to do me mischief. By returning I might put a stop to
their intrigues; and those in whom I placed the most confidence were
just the men who played most traitorously. He would not say more than
that he knew very well all about it; and, indeed, the Cardinal of
Ferrara had now conspired with the two rogues I left in charge of all my
business. Having repeated over and over again that I ought absolutely to
turn back, he went onward with the post, while I, being influenced by my
companions, could not make my mind up to return. My heart was sorely
torn asunder, at one moment by the desire to reach Florence as quickly
as I could, and at another by the conviction that I ought to regain
France. At last, in order to end the fever of this irresolution, I
determined to take the post for Florence. I could not make arrangements
with the first postmaster, but persisted in my purpose to press forward
and endure an anxious life at Florence. 1

I parted company with Signor Ippolito Gonzaga, who took the route for
Mirandola, while I diverged upon the road to Parma and Piacenza. In the
latter city I met Duke Pier Luigi upon the street, who stared me in the
face, and recognised me. [2] Since I knew him to have been the sole
cause of my imprisonment in the castle of St. Angelo, the sight of him
made my blood boil. Yet being unable to escape from the man, I decided
to pay him my respects, and arrived just after he had risen from table
in the company of the Landi, who afterwards murdered him. On my
appearance he received me with unbounded marks of esteem and affection,
among which he took occasion to remark to the gentlemen present that I
was the first artist of the world in my own line, and that I had been
for a long while in prison at Rome. Then he turned to me and said: “My
Benvenuto, I was deeply grieved for your misfortune, and knew well that
you were innocent, but could not do anything to help you, In short, it
was my father, who chose to gratify some enemies of yours, from whom,
moreover, he heard that you had spoken ill of him. I am convinced this
was not true, and indeed I was heartily sorry for your troubles.” These
words he kept piling up and repeating until he seemed to be begging my
pardon. Afterwards he inquired about the work I had been doing for his
Most Christian Majesty; and on my furnishing him with details, he
listened as attentively and graciously as possible. Then he asked if I
had a mind to serve him. To this I replied that my honour would not
allow me to do so; but that if I had completed those extensive works
begun for the King, I should be disposed to quit any great prince merely
to enter his Excellency’s service.

Hereby it may be seen how the power and goodness of God never leave
unpunished any sort or quality of men who act unjustly toward the
innocent. This man did what was equivalent to begging my pardon in the
presence of those very persons who subsequently took revenge on him for
me and many others whom he had massacred. Let then no prince, however
great he be, laugh at God’s justice, in the way that many whom I know
are doing, and who have cruelly maltreated me, as I shall relate at the
proper time. I do not write these things in any worldly spirit of
boasting, but only to return thanks to God, my deliverer in so many
trials. In those too which daily assail me, I always carry my complaint
to Him, and call on Him to be my defender. On all occasions, after I
have done my best to aid myself; if I lose courage and my feeble forces
fail, then is the great might of God manifested, which descends
unexpectedly on those who wrongfully injure their neighbours, or neglect
the grave and honourable charge they have received from Him.

Note 1. The text here is obscure. The words 'venire a tribulare' might
mean “to get, by any means, however inconvenient, to Florence.” I have
chosen another interpretation in the text, as more consonant with the
Italian idiom. For Cellini’s use of 'tribulare' or 'tribolare,' see lib.
i. 112, 'andando a tribolare la vita tua.'

Note 2. Pier Luigi Farnese was not formally invested with the Duchy of
Parma and Piacenza until September 1545. Cellini, therefore, gives him
this title as Duke of Castro. He was assassinated on September 10, 1547.
The Landi, among other noblemen of the duchy, took part in a conspiracy
which had its ground in Pier Luigi’s political errors no less than in
his intolerable misgovernment and infamous private life.


WHEN I returned to my inn, I found that the Duke had sent me abundance
to eat and drink of very excellent quality. I made a hearty meal, then
mounted and rode toward Florence. There I found my sister with six
daughters, the eldest of whom was marriageable and the youngest still at
nurse. Her husband, by reason of divers circumstances in the city, had
lost employment from his trade. I had sent gems and French jewellery,
more than a year earlier, to the amount of about two thousand ducats,
and now brought with me the same wares to the value of about one
thousand crowns. I discovered that, whereas I made them an allowance of
four golden crowns a month, they always drew considerable sums from the
current sale of these articles. My brother-in-law was such an honest
fellow, that, fearing to give me cause for anger, he had pawned nearly
everything he possessed, and was devoured by interest, in his anxiety to
leave my monies untouched. It seems that my allowance, made by way of
charity, did not suffice for the needs of the family. When then I found
him so honest in his dealings, I felt inclined to raise his pension; and
it was my intention, before leaving Florence, to make some arrangement
for all of his daughters. 1

Note 1. Though this paragraph is confused, the meaning seems to be that
Cellini’s brother-in-law did not use the money which accrued from the
sale of jewellery, and got into debt, because his allowance was
inadequate, and he was out of work.]


THE DUKE OF FLORENCE at this time, which was the month of August 1545,
had retired to Poggio a Cajano, ten miles distant from Florence. Thither
then I went to pay him my respects, with the sole object of acting as
duty required, first because I was a Florentine, and next because my
forefathers had always been adherents of the Medicean party, and I
yielded to none of them in affection for this Duke Cosimo. As I have
said, then, I rode to Poggio with the sole object of paying my respects,
and with no intention of accepting service under him, as God, who does
all things well, did then appoint for me.

When I was introduced, the Duke received me very kindly; then he and the
Duchess put questions concerning the works which I had executed for the
King. [1] I answered willingly and in detail. After listening to my
story, he answered that he had heard as much, and that I spoke the
truth. Then he assumed a tone of sympathy, and added: “How small a
recompense for such great and noble masterpieces! Friend Benvenuto, if
you feel inclined to execute something for me too, I am ready to pay you
far better than that King of yours had done, for whom your excellent
nature prompts you to speak so gratefully.” When I understood his drift,
I described the deep obligations under which I lay to his Majesty, who
first obtained my liberation from that iniquitous prison, and afterwards
supplied me with the means of carrying out more admirable works than any
artist of my quality had ever had the chance to do. While I was thus
speaking, my lord the Duke writhed on his chair, and seemed as though he
could not bear to hear me to the end. Then, when I had concluded, he
rejoined: “If you are disposed to work for me, I will treat you in a way
that will astonish you, provided the fruits of your labours give me
satisfaction, of which I have no doubt.” I, poor unhappy mortal, burning
with desire to show the noble school [2] of Florence that, after leaving
her in youth, I had practised other branches of the art than she
imagined, gave answer to the Duke that I would willingly erect for him
in marble or in bronze a mighty statue on his fine piazza. He replied
that, for a first essay, he should like me to produce a Perseus; he had
long set his heart on having such a monument, and he begged me to begin
a model for the same. [3] I very gladly set myself to the task, and in a
few weeks I finished my model, which was about a cubit high, in yellow
wax and very delicately finished in all its details. I had made it with
the most thorough study and art. 4

The Duke returned to Florence, but several days passed before I had an
opportunity of showing my model. It seemed indeed as though he had never
set eyes on me or spoken with me, and this caused me to augur ill of my
future dealings with his Excellency. Later on, however, one day after
dinner, I took it to his wardrobe, where he came to inspect it with the
Duchess and a few gentlemen of the court. No sooner had he seen it than
he expressed much pleasure, and extolled it to the skies; wherefrom I
gathered some hope that he might really be a connoisseur of art. After
having well considered it for some time, always with greater
satisfaction, he began as follows: “If you could only execute this
little model, Benvenuto, with the same perfection on a large scale, it
would be the finest piece in the piazza.” I replied: “Most excellent my
lord, upon the piazza are now standing works by the great Donatello and
the incomparable Michel Angelo, the two greatest men who have ever lived
since the days of the ancients. [5] But since your Excellence encourages
my model with such praise, I feel the heart to execute it at least
thrice as well in bronze.” [6] No slight dispute arose upon this
declaration; the Duke protesting that he understood these matters
perfectly, and was quite aware what could be done. I rejoined that my
achievements would resolve his dubitations and debates; I was absolutely
sure of being able to perform far more than I had promised for his
Excellency, but that he must give me means for carrying my work out,
else I could not fulfil my undertaking. In return for this his
Excellency bade me formulate my demands in a petition, detailing all my
requirements; he would see them liberally attended to.

It is certain that if I had been cunning enough to secure by contract
all I wanted for my work, I should not have incurred the great troubles
which came upon me through my own fault. But he showed the strongest
desire to have the work done, and the most perfect willingness to
arrange preliminaries. I therefore, not discerning that he was more a
merchant than a duke, dealt very frankly with his Excellency, just as if
I had to do with a prince, and not with a commercial man. I sent in my
petition, to which he replied in large and ample terms. The memorandum
ran as follows: “Most rare and excellent my patron, petitions of any
validity and compacts between us of any value do not rest upon words or
writings; the whole point is that I should succeed in my work according
to my promise; and if I so succeed, I feel convinced that your most
illustrious Excellency will very well remember what you have engaged to
do for me.” This language so charmed the Duke both with my ways of
acting and of speaking that he and the Duchess began to treat me with
extraordinary marks of favour.

Note 1. This Duchess was Eleonora di Toledo, well known to us through
Bronzino’s portrait.

Note 2. This school was the Collegio dei Maestri di Belle Arti in
Florence, who had hitherto known of Cellini mainly as a goldsmith.

Note 3. Cosimo chose the subject of Perseus because it symbolised his
own victory over the Gorgon of tyrannicide and Republican partisanship.
Donatello’s Judith, symbolising justifiable regicide, and Michel
Angelo’s David, symbolising the might of innocent right against an
overbearing usurper, already decorated the Florentine piazza. Until
lately, both of these masterpieces stood together there with the Perseus
of Cellini.

Note 4. This is probably the precious model now existing in the Bargello
Palace at Florence, in many points more interesting than the completed
bronze statue under the Loggia de’ Lanzi.

Note 5. Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes; Michel Angelo’s David.

Note 6. It is difficult to give the exact sense of 'pertanto' and
'perchè' in the text, but I think the drift of the sentence is rendered


BEING now inflamed with a great desire to begin working, I told his
Excellency that I had need of a house where I could install myself and
erect furnaces, in order to commence operations in clay and bronze, and
also, according to their separate requirements, in gold and silver. I
knew that he was well aware how thoroughly I could serve him in those
several branches, and I required some dwelling fitted for my business.
In order that his Excellency might perceive how earnestly I wished to
work for him, I had already chosen a convenient house, in a quarter much
to my liking. [1] As I did not want to trench upon his Excellency for
money or anything of that sort, I had brought with me from France two
jewels, with which I begged him to purchase me the house, and to keep
them until I earned it with my labour. These jewels were excellently
executed by my workmen, after my own designs. When he had inspected them
with minute attention, he uttered these spirited words, which clothed my
soul with a false hope: “Take back your jewels, Benvenuto! I want you,
and not them; you shall have your house free of charges.” After this, he
signed a rescript underneath the petition I had drawn up, and which I
have always preserved among my papers. The rescript ran as follows:
'“Let the house be seen to, and who is the vendor, and at what price;
for we wish to comply with Benvenuto’s request.”' [2] I naturally
thought that this would secure me in possession of the house; being over
and above convinced that my performances must far exceed what I promised.

His Excellency committed the execution of these orders to his majordomo,
who was named Ser Pier Francesco Riccio. [3] The man came from Prato,
and had been the Duke’s pedagogue. I talked, then, to this donkey, and
described my requirements, for there was a garden adjoining the house,
on which I wanted to erect a workshop. He handed the matter over to a
paymaster, dry and meagre, who bore the name of Lattanzio Gorini. This
flimsy little fellow, with his tiny spider’s hands and small gnat’s
voice, moved about the business at a snail’s pace; yet in an evil hour
he sent me stones, sand, and lime enough to build perhaps a pigeon-house
with careful management. When I saw how coldly things were going
forward, I began to feel dismayed; however, I said to myself: “Little
beginnings sometimes have great endings;” and I fostered hope in my
heart by noticing how many thousand ducats had recently been squandered
upon ugly pieces of bad sculpture turned out by that beast of a Buaccio
Bandinelli. [4] So I rallied my spirits and kept prodding at Lattanzio
Gorini, to make him go a little faster. It was like shouting to a pack
of lame donkeys with a blind dwarf for their driver. Under these
difficulties, and by the use of my own money, I had soon marked out the
foundations of the workshop and cleared the ground of trees and vines,
labouring on, according to my wont, with fire, and perhaps a trifle of

On the other side, I was in the hands of Tasso the carpenter, a great
friend of mine, who had received my instructions for making a wooden
framework to set up the Perseus. This Tasso was a most excellent
craftsman, the best, I believe, who ever lived in his own branch of art.
[5] Personally, he was gay and merry be temperament; and whenever I went
to see him, he met me laughing, with some little song in falsetto on his
lips. Half in despair as I then was, news coming that my affairs in
France were going wrong, and these in Florence promising but ill through
the luke-warmness of my patron, I could never stop listening till half
the song was finished; and so in the end I used to cheer up a little
with my friend, and drove away, as well as I was able, some few of the
gloomy thoughts which weighed upon me.

Note 1. This house is in the Via del Rosaio, entered from Via della
Pergola, No. 6527.

Note 2. The petition and the rescript are in existence, and confirm
Cellini’s veracity in this transaction. See Bianchi, p. 587.

Note 3. Varchi, 'St. Fior.,' lib. XV. 44, gives to this man the
character of a presumptuous conceited simpleton.

Note 4. Cellini calls this man, his bitter foe and rival, 'Buaccio' or
the 'great ox, blockhead,' instead of Baccio, which is shortened for

Note 5. See p. 25. Vasari introduced him, together with Cosimo’s other
favoured artists, in a fresco of the Palazzo Vecchio at Florence. See
Plon, p. 124.


I HAD got all the above-mentioned things in order, and was making
vigorous preparations for my great undertaking--indeed a portion of the
lime had been already used--when I received sudden notice to appear
before the majordomo. I found him, after his Excellency’s dinner, in the
hall of the clock. [1] On entering, I paid him marked respect, and he
received me with the greatest stiffness. Then he asked who had installed
me in the house, and by whose authority I had begun to build there,
saying he marvelled much that I had been so headstrong and foolhardy. I
answered that I had been installed in the house by his Excellency, and
that his lordship himself, in the name of his Excellency, had given the
orders to Lattanzio Gorini. “Lattanzio brought stone, sand, and lime,
and provided what I wanted, saying he did so at your lordship’s orders.”
When I had thus spoken, the brute turned upon me with still greater
tartness, vowing that neither I nor any of those whom I had mentioned
spoke the truth. This stung me to the quick, and I exclaimed: “O
majordomo, so long as your lordship [2] chooses to use language
befitting the high office which you hold, I shall revere you, and speak
to you as respectfully as I do to the Duke; if you take another line
with me, I shall address you as but one Ser Pier Francesco Riccio.” He
flew into such a rage that I thought he meant to go mad upon the spot,
anticipating the time ordained by Heaven for him to do so. [3] Pouring
forth a torrent of abuse, he roared out that he was surprised at himself
for having let me speak at all to a man of his quality. Thereupon my
blood was up, and I cried: “Mark my words, then, Ser Pier Francesco
Riccio! I will tell you what sort of men are my equals, and who are
yours--mere teachers of the alphabet to children!” His face contracted
with a spasm, while he raised his voice and repeated the same words in a
still more insulting tone. I, too, assumed an air of menace, and
matching his own arrogance with something of the same sort, told him
plainly that men of my kind were worthy to converse with popes and
emperors, and great kings, and that perhaps there were not two such men
alive upon this earth, while ten of his sort might be met at every
doorway. On hearing these words he jumped upon a window-seat in the hall
there, and defied me to repeat what I had said. I did so with still
greater heat and spirit, adding I had no farther mind to serve the Duke,
and that I should return to France, where I was always welcome. The
brute remained there stupefied and pale as clay; I went off furious,
resolved on leaving Florence; and would to God that I had done so!

The Duke cannot, I think, have been informed at once of this diabolical
scene, for I waited several days without hearing from him. Giving up all
thoughts of Florence, except what concerned the settlement of my
sister’s and nieces’ affairs, I made preparations to provide for them as
well as I could with the small amount of money I had brought, and then
to return to France and never set my foot in Italy again. This being my
firm purpose, I had no intention to ask leave of the Duke or anybody,
but to decamp as quickly as I could; when one morning the majordomo, of
his own accord, sent very humbly to entreat my presence, and opened a
long pedantic oration, in which I could discover neither method, nor
elegance, nor meaning, nor head, nor tail. I only gathered from it that
he professed himself a good Christian, wished to bear no man malice, and
asked me in the Duke’s name what salary I should be willing to accept.
Hearing this, I stood a while on guard, and made no answer, being firmly
resolved not to engage myself. When he saw that I refused to reply, he
had at least the cleverness to put in: “Benvenuto, dukes expect to be
answered; and what I am saying to you, I am saying from his Excellency’s
lips.” Then I rejoined that if the message came from his Excellency, I
would gladly reply, and told him to report to the Duke that I could not
accept a position inferior to that of any one employed by him as artist.
The majordomo answered: “Bandinello receives two hundred crowns a year;
if then you are contented with that, your salary is settled.” I agreed
upon these terms, adding that what I might earn in addition by the merit
of my performances, could be given after they were seen; that point I
left entirely to the good judgment of his Excellency. Thus, then,
against my will, I pieced the broken thread again, and set to work; the
Duke continually treating me with the highest imaginable marks of favour.

Note 1. One of the rooms in the Palazzo Vecchio, so called because the
famous cosmographical timepiece, made about 1484 for Lorenzo de’ Medici
by Lorenzo della Volpaia, stood there.

Note 2. It was the custom at that epoch to address princes by the title
of 'Signore' or 'Vostra Signoria;' gentlemen (armigeri) had the title of
'Messer;' simple 'Ser' was given to plebeians with some civil or
ecclesiastical dignity.

Note 3. Vasari, in his 'Life of Montorsoli,' says in effect that this
Riccio died about 1559, after having been insane several years.


I RECEIVED frequent letters from France, written by my most faithful
friend Messer Guido Guidi. As yet they told nothing but good news; and
Ascanio also bade me enjoy myself without uneasiness, since, if anything
happened, he would let me know at once.

Now the King was informed that I had commenced working for the Duke of
Florence, and being the best man in the world, he often asked: “Why does
not Benvenuto come back to us?” He put searching questions on the
subject to my two workmen, both of whom replied that I kept writing I
was well off where I was, adding they thought I did not want to re-enter
the service of his Majesty. Incensed by these presumptuous words, which
were none of my saying, the King exclaimed: “Since he left us without
any cause, I shall not recall him; let him e’en stay where he is.” Thus
the thievish brigands brought matters exactly to the pass they desired;
for if I had returned to France, they would have become mere workmen
under me once more, whereas, while I remained away, they were their own
masters and in my place; consequently, they did everything in their
power to prevent my coming back.


WHILE the workshop for executing my Perseus was in building, I used to
work in a ground-floor room. Here I modelled the statue in plaster,
giving it the same dimensions as the bronze was meanst to have, and
intending to cast it from this mould. But finding that it would take
rather long to carry it out in this way, I resolved upon another
expedient, especially as now a wretched little studio had been erected,
brick on brick, so miserably built that the mere recollection of it
gives me pain. So then I began the figure of Medusa, and constructed the
skeleton in iron. Afterwards I put on the clay, and when that was
modelled, baked it.

I had no assistants except some little shopboys, among whom was one of
great beauty; he was the son of a prostitute called La Gambetta. I made
use of the lad as a model, for the only books which teach this art are
the natural human body. Meanwhile, as I could not do everything alone, I
looked about for workmen in order to put the business quickly through;
but I was unable to find any. There were indeed some in Florence who
would willingly have come, but Bandinello prevented them, and after
keeping me in want of aid awhile, told the Duke that I was trying to
entice his work-people because I was quite incapable of setting up so
great a statue by myself. I complained to the Duke of the annoyance
which the brute gave me, and begged him to allow me some of the
labourers from the Opera. [1] My request inclined him to lend ear to
Bandinello’s calumnies; and when I noticed that, I set about to do my
utmost by myself alone. The labour was enormous: I had to strain every
muscle night and day; and just then the husband of my sister sickened,
and died after a few days’ illness. He left my sister, still young, with
six girls of all ages, on my hands. This was the first great trial I
endured in Florence, to be made the father and guardian of such a
distressed family.

Note 1. That is, the Opera del Duomo, or permanent establishment for
attending to the fabric of the Florentine Cathedral.


IN my anxiety that nothing should go wrong, I sent for two
hand-labourers to clear my garden of rubbish. They came from Ponte
Vecchio, the one an old man of sixty years, the other a young fellow of
eighteen. After employing them about three days, the lad told me that
the old man would not work, and that I had better send him away, since,
beside being idle, he prevented his comrade from working. The little I
had to do there could be done by himself, without throwing money away on
other people. The youth was called Bernardino Mannellini, of Mugello.
When I saw that he was so inclined to labour, I asked whether he would
enter my service, and we agreed upon the spot. He groomed my horse,
gardened, and soon essayed to help me in the workshop, with such success
that by degrees he learned the art quite nicely. I never had a better
assistant than he proved. Having made up my mind to accomplish the whole
affair with this man’s aid, I now let the Duke know that Bandinello was
lying, and that I could get on famously without his workpeople.

Just at this time I suffered slightly in the loins, and being unable to
work hard, I was glad to pass my time in the Duke’s wardrobe with a
couple of young goldsmiths called Gianpagolo and Domenico Poggini, [1]
who made a little golden cup under my direction. It was chased in
bas-relief with figures and other pretty ornaments, and his Excellency
meant it for the Duchess to drink water out of. He furthermore
commissioned me to execute a golden belt, which I enriched with gems and
delicate masks and other fancies. The Duke came frequently into the
wardrobe, and took great pleasure in watching me at work and talking to
me. When my health improved, I had clay brought, and took a portrait of
his Excellency, considerably larger than life-size, which I modelled
while he stayed with me for pastime. He was highly delighted with this
piece, and conceived such a liking for me that he earnestly begged me to
take up my working quarters in the palace, selecting rooms large enough
for my purpose, and fitting them up with furnaces and all I wanted, for
he greatly enjoyed watching the processes of art. I replied that this
was impossible; I should not have finished my undertakings in a hundred

Note 1. These two brothers were specially eminent as die-casters.
Gianpagolo went to Spain, and served Philip II.


THE DUCHESS also treated me with extraordinary graciousness, and would
have been pleased if I had worked for her alone, forgetting Perseus and
everything besides. I for my part, while these vain favours were being
showered upon me knew only too well that my perverse and biting fortune
could not long delay to send me some fresh calamity, because I kept ever
before my eyes the great mistake I had committed while seeking to do a
good action. I refer to my affairs in France. The King could not swallow
the displeasure he felt at my departure; and yet he wanted me to return,
if only this could be brought about without concessions on his part. I
thought that I was entirely in the right, and would not bend
submissively, because I judged that if I wrote in humble terms, those
enemies of mine would say in their French fashion that I had confessed
myself to blame, and that certain misdoings with which they wrongfully
taxed me were proved true. Therefore I stood upon my honour, and wrote
in terms of haughty coldness, which was precisely what those two
traitors, my apprentices, most heartily desired. In my letters to them I
boasted of the distinguished kindness shown me in my own birthplace by a
prince and princess the absolute masters of Florence. Whenever they
received one of these despatches, they went to the King, and besieged
his Majesty with entreaties for the castle upon the same terms as he had
granted it to me. The King, who was a man of great goodness and
perspicacity, would never consent to the presumptuous demands of those
scoundrels, since he scented the malignity of their aims. Yet, wishing
to keep them in expectation, and to give me the opportunity of coming
back, he caused an angry letter to be written to me by his treasurer,
Messer Giuliano Buonaccorsi, a burgher of Florence. The substance was as
follows: If I wanted to preserve the reputation for honesty which I had
hitherto enjoyed, it was my plain duty, after leaving France with no
cause whatsoever, to render an account of all that I had done and dealt
with for his Majesty.

The receipt of this letter gave me such pleasure that, If I had
consulted my own palate, I could not have wished for either more or
less. I sat down to write an answer, and filled nine pages of ordinary
paper. In this document I described in detail all the works which I had
executed, and all the adventures I had gone through while performing
them, and all the sums which had been spent upon them. The payments had
always been made through two notaries and one of his Majesty’s
treasurers; and I could show receipts from all the men into whose hands
they passed, whether for goods supplied or labour rendered. I had not
pocketed one penny of the money, nor had I received any reward for my
completed works. I brought back with me into Italy nothing but some
marks of favour and most royal promises, truly worthy of his Majesty.
“Now, though I cannot vaunt myself of any recompense beyond the salaries
appointed for my maintenance in France, seven hundred golden crowns of
which are still due, inasmuch as I abstained from drawing them until I
could employ them on my return-journey; yet knowing that malicious foes
out of their envious hearts have played some knavish trick against me, I
feel confident that truth will prevail. I take pride in his Most
Christian Majesty and am not moved by avarice. I am indeed aware of
having performed for him far more than I undertook; and albeit the
promised reward has not been given me, my one anxiety is to remain in
his Majesty’s opinion that man of probity and honour which I have always
been. If your Majesty entertains the least doubt upon this point, I will
fly to render an account of my conduct, at the risk even of my life. But
noticing in what slight esteem I am held I have had no mind to come back
and make an offer of myself, knowing that I shall never lack for bread
whithersoever I may go. If, however, I am called for, I will always
answer.” The letter contained many further particulars worthy of the
King’s attention, and proper to the preservation of my honour. Before
despatching it, I took it to the Duke, who read it with interest; then I
sent it into France, addressed to the Cardinal of Ferrara.


ABOUT this time Bernardone Baldini, [1] broker in jewels to the Duke,
brought a big diamond from Venice, which weighed more than thirty-five
carats. Antonio, son of Vittorio Landi, was also interested in getting
the Duke to purchase it. [2] The stone had been cut with a point; but
since it did not yield the purity of lustre which one expects in such a
diamond, its owners had cropped the point, and, in truth, it was not
exactly fit for either point or table cutting. [3] Our Duke, who greatly
delighted in gems, though he was not a sound judge of them, held out
good hopes to the rogue Bernardaccio that he would buy this stone; and
the fellow, wanting to secure for himself alone the honour of palming it
off upon the Duke of Florence, abstained from taking his partner Antonio
Landi into the secret. Now Landi had been my intimate friend from
childhood, and when he saw that I enjoyed the Duke’s confidence, he
called me aside (it was just before noon at a corner of the Mercato
Nuovo), and spoke as follows: “Benvenuto, I am convinced that the Duke
will show you a diamond, which he seems disposed to buy; you will find
it a big stone. Pray assist the purchase; I can give it for seventeen
thousand crowns. I feel sure he will ask your advice; and if you see
that he has a mind for it, we will contrive that he secures it.” Antonio
professed great confidence in being able to complete the bargain for the
jewel at that price. In reply, I told him that if my advice was taken, I
would speak according to my judgment, without prejudice to the diamond.

As I have above related, the Duke came daily into our goldsmith’s
workshop for several hours; and about a week after this conversation
with Antonio Landi he showed me one day after dinner the diamond in
question, which I immediately recognised by its description, both as to
form and weight. I have already said that its water was not quite
transparent, for which reason it had been cropped; so, when I found it
of that kind and quality, I felt certainly disinclined to recommend its
acquisition. However, I asked his Excellency what he wanted me to say;
because it was one thing for jewellers to value a stone after a prince
had bought it, and another thing to estimate it with a view to purchase.
He replied that he bought it, and that he only wanted my opinion. I did
not choose to abstain from hinting what I really thought about the
stone. Then he told me to observe the beauty of its great facets. [4] I
answered that this feature of the diamond was not so great a beauty as
his Excellency supposed, but came from the point having been cropped. At
these words my prince, who perceive that I was speaking the truth, made
a wry face, and bade me give good heed to valuing the stone, and saying
what I thought it worth. I reckoned that, since Landi had offered it to
me for 17,000 crowns, the Duke might have got it for 15,000 at the
highest; so, noticing that he would take it ill if I spoke the truth, I
made my mind up to uphold him in his false opinion, and handing back the
diamond, said: “You will probably have paid 18,000 crowns.” On hearing
this the Duke uttered a loud “Oh!” opening his mouth as wide as a well,
and cried out: “Now am I convinced that you understand nothing about the
matter.” I retorted: “You are certainly in the wrong there, my lord. Do
you attend to maintaining the credit of your diamond, while I attend to
understanding my trade. But pray tell me at least how much you paid, in
order that I may learn to understand it according to the way of your
Excellency.” The Duke rose, and, with a little sort of angry grin,
replied: “Twenty-five thousand crowns and more, Benvenuto, did that
stone cost me!”

Having thus spoken he departed. Giovanpagolo and Domenico Poggini, the
goldsmiths, were present; and Bachiacca, the embroiderer, who was
working in an adjacent room, ran up at the noise. [5] I told them that I
should never have advised the Duke to purchase it; but if his heart was
set on having it, Antonio Landi had offered me the stone eight days ago
for 17,000 crowns. I think I could have got it for 15,000 or less. But
the Duke apparently wishes to maintain his gem in credit; for when
Antonio Landi was willing to let it go at that price, how the devil can
Bernardone have played off such a shameful trick upon his Excellency?
Never imagining that the matter stood precisely as the Duke averred, we
laughingly made light of his supposed credulity.

Note 1. Varchi and Ammirato both mention him as an excellent jeweller.

Note 2. Antonio Landi was a Florentine gentleman, merchant, and author.
A comedy of his called 'Commodo' is extant.

Note 3. Italians distinguished cut diamonds of three sorts: 'in tavola,
a faccette,' and 'in punta.' The word I have translated 'cropped' is
'ischericato,' which was properly applied to an unfrocked or degraded

Note 4. 'Filetti,' the sharp lines which divide one facet from another.

Note 5. Antonio Ubertini, called Il Bachiacca, a brother of Cellini’s
friend in Rome. See p. 56. He enjoyed great reputation, and was praised
by Varchi in a sonnet for his mastery of embroidery.


MEANWHILE I was advancing with my great statue of Medusa. I had covered
the iron skeleton with clay, which I modelled like an anatomical
subject, and about half an inch thinner than the bronze would be. This I
baked well, and then began to spread on the wax surface, in order to
complete the figure to my liking. [1] The Duke, who often came to
inspect it, was so anxious lest I should not succeed with the bronze,
that he wanted me to call in some master to case it for me.

He was continually talking in the highest terms of my acquirements and
accomplishments. This made his majordomo no less continually eager to
devise some trap for making me break my neck. Now his post at court gave
him authority with the chief-constables and all the officers in the poor
unhappy town of Florence. Only to think that a fellow from Prato, our
hereditary foeman, the son of a cooper, and the most ignorant creature
in existence, should have risen to such a station of influence, merely
because he had been the rotten tutor of Cosimo de’ Medici before he
became Duke! Well, as I have said, he kept ever on the watch to serve me
some ill turn; and finding that he could not catch me out on any side,
he fell at last upon this plan, which meant mischief. He betook himself
to Gambetta, the mother of my apprentice Cencio; and this precious pair
together--that knave of a pedant and that rogue of a strumpet--invented
a scheme for giving me such a fright as would make me leave Florence in
hot haste. Gambetta, yielding to the instinct of her trade, went out,
acting under the orders of that mad, knavish pedant, the majordomo--I
must add that they had also gained over the Bargello, a Bolognese, whom
the Duke afterwards dismissed for similar conspiracies. Well, one
evening, after sunset, Gambetta came to my house with her son, and told
me she had kept him several days indoors for my welfare. I answered that
there was no reason to keep him shut up on my account; and laughing her
whorish arts to scorn, I turned to the boy in her presence, and said
these words: “You know, Cencio, whether I have sinned with you!” He
began to shed tears, and answered, “No!” Upon this the mother, shaking
her head, cried out at him: “Ah! you little scoundrel! Do you think I do
not know how these things happen?” Then she turned to me, and begged me
to keep the lad hidden in my house, because the Bargello was after him,
and would seize him anywhere outside my house, but there they would not
dare to touch him. I made answer that in my house lived my widowed
sister and six girls of holy life, and that I wanted nobody else there.
Upon that she related that the majordomo had given orders to the
Bargello, and that I should certainly be taken up: only, if I would not
harbour her son, I might square accounts by paying her a hundred crowns;
the majordomo was her crony, and I might rest assured that she could
work him to her liking, provided I paid down the hundred crowns. This
cozenage goaded me into such a fury that I cried: “Out with you,
shameful strumpet! Were it not for my good reputation, and for the
innocence of this unhappy boy of yours here, I should long ago have cut
your throat with the dagger at my side; and twice or thrice I have
already clasped my fingers on the handle.” With words to this effect,
and many ugly blows to boot, I drove the woman and her son into the

Note 1. This is an important passage, which has not, I think, been
properly understood by Cellini’s translators. It describes the process
he now employed in preparing a mould for bronze-casting. First, it
seems, he made a solid clay model, somewhat smaller than the bronze was
meant to be. This he overlaid with wax, and then took a hollow mould of
the figure thus formed. Farther on we shall see how he withdrew the wax
from the hollow mould, leaving the solid model inside, with space enough
between them for the metal to flow in.


WHEN I reflected on the roguery and power of that evil-minded pedant, I
judged it best to give a wide berth to his infernal machinations; so
early next morning I mounted my horse and took the road for Venice,
leaving in my sister’s hands jewels and articles to the value of nearly
two thousand crowns. I took with me my servant Bernardino of Mugello;
and when I reached Ferrara, I wrote word to his Excellency the Duke,
that though I had gone off without being sent, I should come back again
without being called for.

On arriving at Venice, and pondering upon the divers ways my cruel
fortune took to torment me, yet at the same time feeling myself none the
less sound in health and hearty, I made up my mind to fence with her
according to my wont. While thus engrossed in thoughts about my own
affairs, I went abroad for pastime through that beautiful and sumptuous
city, and paid visits to the admirable painter Titian, and to Jacopo del
Sansovino, our able sculptor and architect from Florence. The latter
enjoyed an excellent appointment under the Signoria of Venice; and we
had been acquainted during our youth in Rome and Florence. These two men
of genius received me with marked kindness. The day afterwards I met
Messer Lorenzo de’ Medici, [1] who took me by the hand at once, giving
me the warmest welcome which could be imagined, because we had known
each other in Florence when I was coining for Duke Alessandro, and
afterwards in Paris while I was in the King’s service. At that time he
sojourned in the house of Messer Giuliano Buonaccorsi, and having
nowhere else to go for pastime without the greatest peril of his life,
he used to spend a large part of the day in my house, watching me
working at the great pieces I produced there. As I was saying, our
former acquaintance led him to take me by the hand and bring me to his
dwelling, where I found the Prior degli Strozzi, brother of my lord
Peiro. While making good cheer together, they asked me how long I
intended to remain in Venice, thinking that I was on my return journey
into France. To these gentlemen I replied that I had left Florence on
account of the events I have described above, and that I meant to go
back after two or three days, in order to resume my service with the
Duke. On hearing this, the Prior and Messer Lorenzo turned round on me
with such sternness that I felt extremely uneasy; then they said to me:
“You would do far better to return to France, where you are rich and
well known; for if you go back to Florence, you will lose all that you
have gained in France, and will earn nothing there but annoyances.

I made no answer to these words, and departed the next day as secretly
as I was able, turning my face again towards Florence. In the meanwhile
that infernal plot had come to a head and broken, for I had written to
my great master, the Duke, giving him a full account of the causes of my
escapade to Venice. I went to visit him without any ceremony, and was
received with his usual reserve and austerity. Having maintained this
attitude awhile, he turned toward me pleasantly, and asked where I had
been. I answered that my heart had never moved one inch from his most
illustrious Excellency, although some weighty reasons had forced me to
go a roaming for a little while. Then softening still more in manner, he
began to question me concerning Venice, and after this wise we conversed
some space of time. At last he bade me apply myself to business, and
complete his Perseus. So I returned home glad and light-hearted, and
comforted my family, that is to say, my sister and her six daughters.
Then I resumed my work, and pushed it forward as briskly as I could.

Note 1. This is Lorenzino de’ Medici, the murderer of Alessandro, who
was himself assassinated by two Tuscan bravi in 1548. See 'Renaissance
in Italy,' vol. vi. chap. 6.


THE FIRST piece I cast in bronze was that great bust, the portrait of
his Excellency, which I had modelled in the goldsmith’s workroom while
suffering from those pains in my back. [1] It gave much pleasure when it
was completed, though my sole object in making it was to obtain
experience of clays suitable for bronze-casting. I was of course aware
that the admirable sculptor Donatello had cast his bronzes with the clay
of Florence; yet it seemed to me that he had met with enormous
difficulties in their execution. As I thought that this was due to some
fault in the earth, I wanted to make these first experiments before I
undertook my Perseus. From them I learned that the clay was good enough,
but had not been well understood by Donatello, inasmuch as I could see
that his pieces had been cast with the very greatest trouble.
Accordingly, as I have described above, I prepared the earth by
artificial methods, and found it serve me well, and with it I cast the
bust; but since I had not yet constructed my own furnace, I employed
that of Maestro Zanobi di Pagno, a bell-founder.

When I saw that this bust came out sharp and clean, I set at once to
construct a little furnace in the workshop erected for me by the Duke,
after my own plans and design, in the house which the Duke had given me.
No sooner was the furnace ready than I went to work with all diligence
upon the casting of Medusa, that is, the woman twisted in a heap beneath
the feet of Perseus. It was an extremely difficult task, and I was
anxious to observe all the niceties of art which I had learned, so as
not to lapse into some error. The first cast I took in my furnace
succeeded in the superlative degree, and was so clean that my friends
thought I should not need to retouch it. It is true that certain Germans
and Frenchmen, who vaunt the possession of marvellous secrets, pretend
that they can cast bronzes without retouching them; but this is really
nonsense, because the bronze, when it has first been cast, ought to be
worked over and beaten in with hammers and chisels, according to the
manner of the ancients and also to that of the moderns--I mean such
moderns as have known how to work in bronze.

The result of this casting greatly pleased his Excellency, who often
came to my house to inspect it, encouraging me by the interest he showed
to do my best. The furious envy of Bandinello, however, who kept always
whispering in the Duke’s ears, had such effect that he made him believe
my first successes with a single figure or two proved nothing; I should
never be able to put the whole large piece together, since I was new to
the craft, and his Excellency ought to take good heed he did not throw
his money away. These insinuations operated so efficiently upon the
Duke’s illustrious ears, that part of my allowance for workpeople was
withdrawn. I felt compelled to complain pretty sharply to his
Excellency; and having gone to wait on him one morning in the Via de’
Servi, I spoke as follows: “My lord, I do not now receive the monies
necessary for my task, which makes me fear that your Excellency has lost
confidence in me. Once more then I tell you that I feel quite able to
execute this statue three times better than the model, as I have before
engaged my word.”

Note 1. Now in the Museum of the Bargello Palace at Florence


I COULD see that this speech made no impression on the Duke, for he kept
silence; then, seized with sudden anger and a vehement emotion, I began
again to address him: “My lord, this city of a truth has ever been the
school of the most noble talents. Yet when a man has come to know what
he is worth, after gaining some acquirements, and wishing to augment the
glory of his town and of his glorious prince, it is quite right that he
should go and labour elsewhere. To prove the truth of these words, I
need only remind your Excellency of Donatello and the great Lionardo da
Vinci in the past, and of our incomparable Michel Angelo Buonarroti in
the present; they augment the glory of your Excellency by their genius.
I in my turn feel the same desire and hope to play my part like them;
therefore, my lord, give me the leave to go. But beware of letting
Bandinello quit you; rather bestow upon him always more than he demands;
for if he goes into foreign parts, his ignorance is so presumptuous that
he is just the man to disgrace our most illustrious school. Now grant me
my permission, prince! I ask no further reward for my labours up to this
time than the gracious favour of your most illustrious Excellency.” When
he saw the firmness of my resolution, he turned with some irritation and
exclaimed: “Benvenuto, if you want to finish the statue, you shall lack
for nothing.” Then I thanked him and said I had no greater desire than
to show those envious folk that I had it in me to execute the promised
work. When I left his Excellency, I received some slight assistance; but
this not being sufficient, I had to put my hand into my own purse, in
order to push the work forward at something better than a snail’s pace.

It was my custom to pass the evening in the Duke’s wardrobe, where
Domenico Poggini and his brother Gianpagolo were at work upon that
golden cup for the Duchess and the girdle I have already described. His
Excellency had also commissioned me to make a little model for a pendent
to set the great diamond which Bernardone and Antonio Landi made him
buy. I tried to get out of doing it, but the Duke compelled me by all
sorts of kindly pressure to work until four hours after nightfall. He
kept indeed enticing me to push this job forward by daytime also; but I
would not consent, although I felt sure I should incur his anger. Now
one evening I happened to arrive rather later than usual, whereupon he
said: “I’ll come may you be!” [1] I answered: “My lord, that is not my
name; my name is Welcome! But, as I suppose your Excellency is joking, I
will add no more.” He replied that, far from joking, he meant solemn
earnest. I had better look to my conduct, for it had come to his ears
that I relied upon his favour to take in first one man and then another.
I begged his most illustrious Excellency to name a single person whom I
had ever taken in. At this he flew into a rage, and said: “Go, and give
back to Bernardone what you have of his. There! I have mentioned one.” I
said: “My lord, I thank you, and beg you to condescend so far as to
listen to four words. It is true that he lent me a pair of old scales,
two anvils, and three little hammers, which articles I begged his
workman, Giorgio da Cortona, fifteen days ago, to fetch back. Giorgio
came for them himself. If your Excellency can prove, on referring to
those who have spoken these calumnies, or to others, that I have ever,
from the day of my birth till now, got any single thing by fraud from
anybody, be it in Rome or be it in France, then let your Excellency
punish me as immoderately as you choose.” When the Duke saw me in this
mighty passion, he assumed the air of a prudent and benevolent lord,
saying: “Those words are not meant for well-doers; therefore, if it is
as you say, I shall always receive you with the same kindness as
heretofore.” To this I answered: “I should like your Excellency to know
that the rascalities of Bernardone compel me to ask as a favor how much
that big diamond with the cropped point cost you. I hope to prove on
what account that scoundrel tries to bring me into disgrace.” Then his
Excellency replied: “I paid 25,000 ducats for it; why do you ask me?”
“Because, my lord, on such a day, at such an hour, in a corner of
Mercato Nuovo, Antonio Landi, the son of Vittorio, begged me to induce
your Excellency to buy it, and at my first question he asked 16,000
ducats for the diamond; [2] now your Excellency knows what it has cost
you. Domenico Poggini and Gianpagolo his brother, who are present, will
confirm my words; for I spoke to them at once about it, and since that
time have never once alluded to the matter, because your Excellency told
me I did not understand these things, which made me think you wanted to
keep up the credit of your stone. I should like you to know, my lord,
that I do understand, and that, as regards my character, I consider
myself no less honest than any man who ever lived upon this earth. I
shall not try to rob you of eight or ten thousand ducats at one go, but
shall rather seek to earn them by my industry. I entered the service of
your Excellency as sculptor, goldsmith, and stamper of coin; but to blab
about my neighbour’s private matters,--never! What I am now telling you
I say in self-defence; I do not want my fee for information. [3] If I
speak out in the presence of so many worthy fellows as are here, it is
because I do not wish your Excellency to believe what Bernardone tells

When he had heard this speech, the Duke rose up in anger, and sent for
Bernardone, who was forced to take flight as far as Venice, he and
Antonio Landi with him. The latter told me that he had not meant that
diamond, but was talking of another stone. So then they went and came
again from Venice; whereupon I presented myself to the Duke and spoke as
follows: “My lord, what I told you is the truth; and what Bernardone
said about the tools he lent me is a lie. You had better put this to the
proof, and I will go at once to the Bargello.” The Duke made answer:
“Benvenuto, do your best to be an honest man, as you have done until
now; you have no cause for apprehension.” So the whole matter passed off
in smoke, and I heard not one more word about it. I applied myself to
finishing his jewel; and when I took it to the Duchess, her Grace said
that she esteemed my setting quite as highly as the diamond which
Bernardaccio had made them buy. She then desired me to fasten it upon
her breast, and handed me a large pin, with which I fixed it, and took
my leave in her good favour. [4] Afterwards I was informed that they had
the stone reset by a German or some other foreigner--whether truly or
not I cannot vouch--upon Bernardone’s suggestion that the diamond would
show better in a less elaborate setting.

Note 1. Benvenuto and 'Malvenuto.'

Note 2. He forgets that he has said above that it was offered him by
Landi for 17,000 ducats.

Note 3. This fee was 'il quarto,' or the fourth part of the criminal’s
fine, which came to the delator.

Note 4. It is worthy of notice that from this point onward the MS. is
written by Cellini in his own hand.


I BELIEVE have already narrated how Domenico and Giovanpagolo Poggini,
goldsmiths and brothers, were at work in the Duke’s wardrobe upon some
little golden vases, after my design, chased with figures in bas-relief,
and other ornaments of great distinction. I oftentimes kept saying to
his Excellency: “My lord, if you will undertake to pay some workpeople,
I am ready to strike coins for your mint and medals with your portrait.
I am willing to enter into competition with the ancients, and feel able
to surpass them; for since those early days in which I made the medals
of Pope Clement, I have learned so much that I can now produce far
better pieces of the kind. I think I can also outdo the coins I struck
for Duke Alessandro, which are still held in high esteem; in like manner
I could make for you large pieces of gold and silver plate, as I did so
often for that noble monarch, King Francis of France, thanks to the
great conveniences he allowed me, without ever losing time for the
execution of colossal statues or other works of the sculptor’s craft.”
To this suggestion the Duke replied: “Go forward; I will see;” but he
never supplied me with conveniences or aid of any kind.

One day his most illustrious Excellency handed me several pounds weight
of silver, and said: “This is some of the silver from my mines; [1] take
it, and make a fine vase.” Now I did not choose to neglect my Perseus,
and at the same time I wished to serve the Duke, so I entrusted the
metal, together with my designs and models in wax, to a rascal called
Piero di Martino, a goldsmith by trade. He set the work up badly, and
moreover ceased to labour at it, so that I lost more time than if I had
taken it in hand myself. After several months were wasted, and Piero
would neither work nor put men to work upon the piece, I made him give
it back. I moved heaven and earth to get back the body of the vase,
which he had begun badly, as I have already said, together with the
remainder of the silver. The Duke, hearing something of these disputes,
sent for the vase and the models, and never told me why or wherefore.
Suffice it to say, that he placed some of my designs in the hands of
divers persons at Venice and elsewhere, and was very ill served by them.

The Duchess kept urging me to do goldsmith’s work for her. I frequently
replied that everybody, nay, all Italy, knew well I was an excellent
goldsmith; but Italy had not yet seen what I could do in sculpture.
Among artists, certain enraged sculptors laughed at me, and called me
the new sculptor. “Now I hope to show them that I am an old sculptor, if
God shall grant me the boon of finishing my Perseus for that noble
piazza of his most illustrious Excellency.” After this I shut myself up
at home, working day and night, not even showing my face in the palace.
I wished, however, to keep myself in favour with the Duchess; so I got
some little cups made for her in silver, no larger than two penny
milk-pots, chased with exquisite masks in the rarest antique style. When
I took them to her Excellency, she received me most graciously, and
repaid the gold and silver I had spent upon them. Then I made my suit to
her and prayed her tell the Duke that I was getting small assistance for
so great a work; I begged her also to warn him not to lend so ready an
ear to Bandinello’s evil tongue, which hindered me from finishing my
Perseus. In reply to these lamentable complaints the Duchess shrugged
her shoulders and exclaimed: “Of a surety the Duke ought only too well
to know that this Bandinello of his is worth nothing.”

Note 1. Cosimo’s silver mines were at Campiglia and Pietrasantra. He
worked them, however, rather at a loss than profit.


I NOW stayed at home, and went rarely to the palace, labouring with
great diligence to complete my statue. I had to pay the workmen out of
my own pocket; for the Duke, after giving Lattanzio Gorini orders to
discharge their wages, at the end of about eighteen months, grew tired,
and withdrew this subsidy. I asked Lattanzio why he did not pay me as
usual. The man replied, gesticulating with those spidery hands of his,
in a shrill gnat’s voice: “Why do not you finish your work? One thinks
that you will never get it done.” In a rage I up and answered: “May the
plague catch you and all who dare to think I shall not finish it!”

So I went home with despair at heart to my unlucky Perseus, not without
weeping, when I remembered the prosperity I had abandoned in Paris under
the patronage of that marvellous King Francis, where I had abundance of
all kinds, and here had everything to want for. Many a time I had it in
my soul to cast myself away for lost. One day on one of these occasions,
I mounted a nice nag I had, put a hundred crowns in my purse, and went
to Fiesole to visit a natural son of mine there, who was at nurse with
my gossip, the wife of one of my workpeople. When I reached the house, I
found the boy in good health, and kissed him, very sad at heart. On
taking leave, he would not let me go, but held me with his little hands
and a tempest of cries and tears. Considering that he was only two years
old or thereabouts, the child’s grief was something wonderful. Now I had
resolved, in the heat of my despair, if I met Bandinello, who went every
evening to a farm of his above San Domenico, that I would hurl him to
destruction; so I disengaged myself from my baby, and left the boy there
sobbing his heart out. Taking the road toward Florence, just when I
entered the piazza of San Domenico, Bandinello was arriving from the
other side. On the instant I decided upon bloodshed; but when I reached
the man and raised my eyes, I saw him unarmed, riding a sorry mule or
rather donkey, and he had with him a boy of ten years old. No sooner did
he catch sight of me than he turned the colour of a corpse, and trembled
from head to foot. Perceiving at once how base the business would be, I
exclaimed: “Fear not, vile coward! I do not condescend to smite you.” He
looked at me submissively and said nothing. Thereupon I recovered
command of my faculties, and thanked God that His goodness had withheld
me from so great an act of violence. Then, being delivered from that
fiendish fury, my spirits rose, and I said to myself: “If God but grant
me to execute my work, I hope by its means to annihilate all my
scoundrelly enemies; and thus I shall perform far greater and more
glorious revenges that if I had vented my rage upon one single foe.”
Having this excellent resolve in heart, I reached my home. At the end of
three days news was brought me that my only son had been smothered by
his nurse, my gossip, which gave me greater grief than I have ever had
in my whole life. However, I knelt upon the ground, and, not without
tears, returned thanks to God, as I was wont, exclaiming, “Lord, Thou
gavest me the child, and Thou hast taken him; for all Thy dealings I
thank Thee with my whole heart.” This great sorrow went nigh to
depriving me of reason; yet, according to my habit, I made a virtue of
necessity, and adapted myself to circumstances as well as I was able.


ABOUT this time a young fellow called Francesco, the son of a smith,
Matteo, left Bandinello’s employment, and inquired whether I would give
him work. I agreed, and sent him to retouch my Medusa, which had been
new cast in bronze. After a fortnight he mentioned that he had been
speaking with his master, that is, Bandinello, who told him, if I cared
to make a marble statue, he would give me a fine block of stone. I
replied at once: “Tell him I accept his offer; perhaps this marble will
prove a stumbling block to him, for he keeps on provoking me, and does
not bear in mind the great peril he ran upon the piazza of San Domenico.
Tell him I will have the marble by all means. I never speak about him,
and the beast is perpetually causing me annoyance. I verily believe you
came to work here at his orders for the mere purpose of spying upon me.
Go, then, and tell him I insist on having the marble, even against his
will: see that you do not come back without it.”


MANY days had elapsed during which I had not shown my face in the
palace, when the fancy took me to go there one morning just as the Duke
was finishing his dinner. From what I heard, his Excellency had been
talking of me that morning, commending me highly, and in particular
praising my skill in setting jewels. Therefore, when the Duchess saw me,
she called for me by Messer Sforza; [1] and on my presenting myself to
her most illustrious Excellency, she asked me to set a little
point-diamond in a ring, saying she wished always to wear it; at the
same time she gave me the measure and the stone, which was worth about a
hundred crowns, begging me to be quick about the work. Upon this the
Duke began speaking to the Duchess, and said: “There is no doubt that
Benvenuto was formerly without his peer in this art; but now that he has
abandoned it, I believe it will be too much trouble for him to make a
little ring of the sort you want. I pray you, therefore, not to
importune him about this trifle, which would be no trifle to him owing
to his want of practice.” I thanked the Duke for his kind words, but
begged him to let me render this trifling service to the Duchess. Then I
took the ring in hand, and finished it within a few days. It was meant
for the little finger; accordingly I fashioned four tiny children in the
round and four masks, which figures composed the hoop. I also found room
for some enamelled fruits and connecting links, so that the stone and
setting went uncommonly well together. Then I took it to the Duchess,
who told me graciously that I had produced a very fine piece, and that
she would remember me. She afterwards sent the ring as a present to King
Philip, and from that time forward kept charging me with commissions, so
kindly, however, that I did my best to serve her, although I saw but
very little of her money. God knows I had great need of that, for I was
eager to finish my Perseus, and had engaged some journeymen, whom I paid
out of my own purse. I now began to show myself more often than I had
recently been doing.

Note 1. Sforza Almeni, a Perugian gentleman, the Duke’s chamberlain.
Cosimo killed this man with his own hand in the year 1566.


IT happened on one feast-day that I went to the palace after dinner, and
when I reached the clockroom, I saw the door of the wardrobe standing
open. As I drew nigh it, the Duke called me, and after a friendly
greeting said: “You are welcome! Look at that box which has been sent me
by my lord Stefano of Palestrina. [1] Open it, and let us see what it
contains.” When I had opened the box, I cried to the Duke: “My lord,
this is a statue in Greek marble, and it is a miracle of beauty. I must
say that I have never seen a boy’s figure so excellently wrought and in
so fine a style among all the antiques I have inspected. If your
Excellency permits, I should like to restore it--head and arms and feet.
I will add an eagle, in order that we may christen the lad Ganymede. It
is certainly not my business to patch up statues, that being the trade
of botchers, who do it in all conscience villainously ill; yet the art
displayed by this great master of antiquity cries out to me to help
him.” The Duke was highly delighted to find the statue so beautiful, and
put me a multitude of questions, saying: “Tell me, Benvenuto, minutely,
in what consists the skill of this old master, which so excites your
admiration.” I then attempted, as well as I was able, to explain the
beauty of workmanship, the consummate science, and the rare manner
displayed by the fragment. I spoke long upon these topics, and with the
greater pleasure because I saw that his Excellency was deeply interested.

Note 1. Stefano Colonna, of the princely house of Palestrina. He was a
general of considerable repute in the Spanish, French, and Florentine
services successively.


WHILE I was thus pleasantly engaged in entertaining the Duke, a page

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