CELLINI, Benvenuto.. Vita di Benvenuto Cellini.

Quarto (267 x 189 mm.), [4] leaves, 318 pages,[4] leaves; title-page printed in black and red.A very fine copy in contemporary stiff vellum, red morocco lettering piece on spine.The first Italian edition of the fascinating autobiography of a most renowned artiste maudit.The Florentine Benvenuto Cellini (1500-71) was among the most important Mannerist artists – a skilled goldsmith, sculptor, musician and author. He worked in Rome, Florence, Mantua Naples, Venice and Paris, producing medals, medallions, statues, decorative silver and gold objects (e.g., caskets, cups and candlesticks) for princes and the nobility. He famously spent his life amidst intrigues, imprisonments (with a murder attempt), flights, battles and several charges of sodomy. This is arguably why his autobiography, composed between 1558 and 1562, continued to circulate in manuscript form for nearly 150 years, before finally reaching the press in 1728.This first edition sealed his European fame as an autobiographer and talented author. It features a dedication and preface by the Italian physician and naturalist Antonio Cocchi (1695-1758), and was mentioned as a notable work for the Italian language in the Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca of 1741. ‘A highly impassioned, albeit embellished, account of Cellini's life as artist and adventurer, it gained attention during the romantic period and later served as a model for 19th-century historical novelists like Sir Walter Scott and Alexandre Dumas. […] it is remarkable for its enduring power to capture the imagination of modern readers, as it presents a stunningly vivid portrait of life in 16th-century Italian society' (White, Renaissance, 80). A counterfeit of this edition was printed in 1792, which differs in few details as listed by the bibliographer Gamba. It was also translated into German by J. Wolfgang Goethe c.1800.WorldCat locates 25 copies in the US (HRC, Clark Art Institute, Columbia, Delaware, Huntington, Grinnell, Illinois, Chicago, Newberry, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, LC, Lehigh, Pierpont Morgan, NYAM, NYPL, Princeton, Mass, Wesleyan, Yale, Wellesley, Getty and Stanford).Brunet I, 1725; Cicognara 2231 (incorrectly stating Florence, 1730); Gamba 337; Graesse II 99. P.A. White, ‘Cellini, Benvenuto', in Renaissance and Reformation, 1500-1620, ed. J.E. Carney (London, 2001), 79-80;

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