Course Program

The course, which will take place between the end of January and the beginning of March 2017, intends proceeding from a reading and discussion of some passages of the Autobiography of Cellini (1500-1571), of which in the first lessons will be explained textual and editorial aspects, with two distinct aims. On one hand will be critical contextualized the main works of the Florentine artist, the relationship between him and the Medici, French and Papal courts and his dialogues, not always easy, with other sculptors, painters and architects met during his life. This will give the possibility to expose a credible reconstruction of Cellini’s artistic personality, also with the help of recent bibliography.

The other aim of the course is to use Cellini’s masterpieces described in the Autobiography or in other writings by the artists (for example the Trattati), to focalise on some typologies of the early modern production of sculpture: such as the statue, small bronze, portrait bust, medal, seal etc. These artistic genres will be verified in their evolution from the whole period of the Florentine Renaissance and in some cases will be described until their late Baroque development. There will also be presented, with particular attention to their technical processes and material choices. To guarantee a fuller understanding of these dynamics and a direct observation of the main works quoted during the course will be organized a series of appointments (outside the calendar) in Tuscan museums and churches, and especially in the Bargello, where are housed the most important of Cellini’s artistic productions. The course will be complemented by a series of seminars held by Italian or foreign scholars, who have handled themes and works related to it.

Though this course is planned as a unit in itself, it is highly recommended to attend the lessons – intended primarily for PhD students – on the 'relief', in particular the four lessons in November, about Vasari and the 'paragone'. At the end of the course, the undergraduate students will be required to give a seminar, choosing topics related to the course and previously validated by the professor.

Bibliographic references

  • Michael Wayne Cole, Cellini and the principles of sculpture, Cambridge, University Press 2002

  • Alessandro Nova (hrsg. von), Benvenuto Cellini: Kunst und Kunsttheorie im 16. Jahrhundert, Köln, Böhlau 2003

  • Margaret Ann Gallucci (ed. by), Benvenuto Cellini: Sculptor, Goldsmith, Writer, Cambridge, University Press 2004




No prerequisites are required. The course is aimed primarily at undergraduate students, but is also open to PhD students.