Monday, December 21, 2009

Sixteenth Century Quote of the Week

"On the following day he [King François] sent for me at his dinner-hour. The Cardinal of Ferrara was there at meat with him. When I arrived, the King had reached his second course; he began at once to speak to me, saying, with a pleasant cheer, that having now so fine a basin and jug of my workmanship, he wanted an equally handsome salt-cellar to match them; and begged me to make a design, and to lose no time about it. I replied: 'Your Majesty shall see a model of the sort even sooner than you have commanded; for while I was making the basin, I thought there ought to be a saltcellar to match it; therefore I have already designed one, and if it is your pleasure, I will at once exhibit my conception.' [...] When I appeared again before the King and uncovered my piece, he cried out in astonishment: 'This is a hundred times more divine a thing that I had ever dreamed of. What a miracle of a man! He ought never to stop working.' Then he turned to me with a beaming countenance, and told me that he greatly liked the piece, and wished me to execute it in gold.

Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), Florentine sculptor and goldsmith
The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, Ch. XVI
Translated by John Addington Symonds

Photo credit: Jerzy Strzelecki (1994)

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