Born in 1500, Benvenuto Cellini was one of the world’s most renowned Renaissance artists. As a goldsmith and a sculptor, his works became well-known masterpieces. In his autobiography, The Life of Benvenuto the Son of Giovanni Cellini Written by Himself in Florence, Cellini detailed his experiences and actions as an artist, fighter, and man living in the sixteenth century. While Cellini states his purpose for writing the autobiography is to describe his achievements in art, there is a great deal of violence in The Life, much of which Benvenuto instigates. As shown by The Life, in 16th century Italy, aggression—if justified—was seen as a sign of masculinity in artists, and justification for such aggression could come through communal, political, or religious approval. This essay examines how violence could be justified in the sixteenth century as a form of masculinity. First, the article takes a brief look into the work of historians on Cellini and masculinity. Afterward, the discussion moves to the three ways in which violence could be justified: communally, politically, and religiously, each of which are paired with examples from The Life.
"Swords, War, and Goldsmithing: Benvenuto Cellini and Masculinity in Sixteenth-Century Italy,"
Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review: Vol. 5
, Article 13.
Available at: https://researchrepository.wvu.edu/murr/vol5/iss1/13