Benvenuto Cellini  

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Benvenuto Cellini (November 3, 1500February 13, 1571) was an Italian goldsmith, painter, sculptor, soldier and musician of the Renaissance.

Not less characteristic of its splendidly gifted and barbarically untameable author are the picaresque autobiographical memoirs which he composed, beginning them in Florence in 1558 — a production of the utmost energy, directness and racy animation, setting forth one of the most singular careers in all the annals of fine art.

Personal relationships

Cellini is known to have taken some of his female models as mistresses, having an illegitimate daughter in 1544 with one of them while living in France, whom he named Costanza. After briefly attempting a clerical career, in 1562, he married a servant, Piera Parigi, with whom he claimed he had five children, of which only a son and two daughters survived him.

Outside his marriage, Cellini was officially charged or accused three times with homosexual sodomy and once with heterosexual.

  • 14 January 1523 he was sentenced to pay 12 staia of flour for relations with a boy named Domenico di ser Giuliano da Ripa.
  • While in Paris, a former model and lover brought charges against him of using her "after the Italian fashion."
  • In Florence in 1548, Cellini was accused by a woman named Margherita, for having certain familiarities with her son, Vincenzo.
  • 26 February 1556, his apprentice Fernando di Giovanni di Montepulciano accused his mentor of having sodomised him many times. This time the penalty was a hefty fifty golden scudi fine, and four years of prison, remitted to four years of house arrest thanks to the intercession of the Medicis.

Towards the end of his life during a public altercation before Duke Cosimo, Bandinelli had called out to him Sta cheto, soddomitaccio! (Shut up, you filthy sodomite!) Cellini qualified it an "atrocious insult."

"Oh, fool, you're wrong"

When the Italian sculptor Cellini was accused of sodomy by a rival, he retorted

"Oh, fool, you're wrong: but would God I knew how to practice such a noble art, since one reads that Jove used it with Ganymede in paradise, and here on earth the greatest emperors and kings in the world use it." (Roche, Forbidden Friendships, 136).

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