16th Century Celebrity Tell-All

The Autobiography Of Benvenuto Cellini - Benvenuto Cellini, George Bull
"All men, whatever be their condition, who have done anything of merit, or which verily has a semblance of merit, if so be they are men of truth and good repute, should write the tale of their life with their own hand."


I was compelled to read Cellini’s Autobiography after I read Muriel Spark’s Loitering With Intent, where the protagonist, Fleur Talbot mentioned this book a number of times and even so far saying it was her favorite book (at the time). Spark even quoted the above passage in her novel. Truth be told, I’ve never heard of Cellini prior to that. Now that I had read Cellini’s Autobiography, I am intrigued to see his creations and I think I see where Fleur came from, but I will not talk about that here. 

Back to Cellini’s Autobiography, it was sometimes funny, sometimes exaggerated, sometimes even completely ridiculous, but it was always witty. There was never a dull moment in this book. It was filled with court politic, revenge, imprisonment, betrayal murders, illicit affairs, and even legions of demons! 

The thing I liked best about this book was reading about the interactions Cellini had with other more well known historical figures such as the Popes, King of France and his mistress, Michelangelo, and some others. My copy also accompanied with historical footnotes at the end of each other that noted the fates of some of the mentioned historical figures. 

To read these notes made me wonder at the way Cellini acted towards his patrons. He was polite to them but always headstrong and resentful when he didn’t get his ways. Whenever he took to learn a new art, he would always came out with something better than the reputed experts of the arts. I found this to be a tad unbelievable. Some of his works that I saw by pictures on Wikipedia were excellent though.