Benvenuto Cellini (15001571). Autobiography. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
WHEN Pope Clement heard the storyhe had seen the vase before, but it was not shown him as my workhe expressed much pleasure and spoke warmly in my praise, publicly saying that he felt very favourably toward me. This caused Monsignor Salamanca to repent that he had hectored over me; and in order to make up our quarrel, he sent the same painter to inform me that he meant to give me large commissions. I replied that I was willing to undertake them, but that I should require to be paid in advance. This speech too came to Pope Clements ears, and made him laugh heartily. Cardinal Cibo was in the presence, and the Pope narrated to him the whole history of my dispute with the Bishop.1 Then he turned to one of his people, and ordered him to go on supplying me with work for the palace. Cardinal Cibo sent for me, and after some time spent in agreeable conversation, gave me the order for a large vase, bigger than Salamancas. I likewise obtained commissions from Cardinal Cornaro, and many others of the Holy College, especially Ridolfi and Salviati; they all kept me well employed, so that I earned plenty of money.2
Madonna Porzia now advised me to open a shop of my own. This I did; and I never stopped working for that excellent and gentle lady, who paid me exceedingly well, and by whose means perhaps it was that I came to make a figure in the world.
I contracted close friendship with Signor Gabbriello Ceserino, at that time Gonfalonier of Rome, and executed many pieces for him. One, among the rest, is worthy of mention. It was a large golden medal to wear in the hat. I engraved upon it Leda with her swan; and being very well pleased with the workmanship, he said he should like to have it valued, in order that I might be properly paid. Now, since the medal was executed with consummate skill, the valuers of the trade set a far higher price on it than he had thought of. I therefore kept the medal, and got nothing for my pains. The same sort of adventures happened in this case as in that of Salamancas vase. But I shall pass such matters briefly by, lest they hinder me from telling things of greater importance.
Note 1. Innocenzio Cibo Malaspina, Archbishop of Genoa, and nephew of Lorenzo de Medici. He was a prelate of vast wealth and a great patron of arts and letters. [back]
Note 2. Marco Cornaro was a brother of Caterina, the Queen of Cyprus. He obtained the hat in 1492. Niccolò Ridolfi was a nephew of Leo X. Giovanni Salviati, the son of Jacopo mentioned above, was also a nephew of Leo X, who gave him the hat in 1517. [back]