Perseus Holding the Head of Medusa

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 Benvenuto Cellini, Perseus Holding the Head of Medusa, 1545-1553

Renowned goldsmith, sculptor, and writer, Benvenuto Cellini led an interesting life. Continually getting thrown in prison, fighting continually with his family and rivals, and confessing to three murders drove Cellini to create detailed works such as Perseus Holding the Head of Medusa. His short temper and compulsive urges got him evicted from Italy and banishment to Rome on several occasions. Cellini also had an interest in Greek mythology, and the majority of his works were myth-based. This sculpture is derived from the story of Perseus and Andromeda - a story containing deep wisdom on the interactions of male and female energy. 

When this bronze sculpture was placed in the Pallazo Vecchio, Cosimo I, a patron of Cellini, was worried about how the public would react to this piece. However, when it was installed, the public took this piece well. During the time that this work had been created, bronze had not been used as a form of art for at least a century. By choosing to make this statue out of bronze, Cellini took a risk. But his risk payed off. His thoughts when he first started to make this statue was that by using bronze, he would literally pour molten hot life into his work. He not only proved himself to Cosimo I, but he also proved himself to Florence. 

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