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Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571). Autobiography.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.


THE GREAT compliments which this short inspection of my Perseus had elicited from the noble school of Florence, though they were well known to the Duke, did not prevent him from saying: “I am delighted that Benvenuto has had this trifling satisfaction, which will spur him on to the desired conclusion with more speed and diligence. Do not, however, let him imagine that, when his Perseus shall be finally exposed to view from all sides, folk in general will be so lavish of their praises. On the contrary, I am afraid that all its defects will then be brought home to him, and more will be detected than the statue really has. So let him arm himself with patience.” These were precisely the words which Bandinello had whispered in the Duke’s ears, citing the works of Andrea del Verrocchio, who made that fine bronze of Christ and S. Thomas on the front of Orsammichele; at the same time he referred to many other statues, and dared even to attack the marvellous David of divine Michel Agnolo Buonarroti, accusing it of only looking well if seen in front; finally, he touched upon the multitude of sarcastic sonnets which were called forth by his own Hercules and Cacus, and wound up with abusing the people of Florence. Now the Duke, who was too much inclined to credit his assertions, encouraged the fellow to speak thus, and thought in his own heart that things would go as he had prophesied, because that envious creature Bandinello never ceased insinuating malice. On one occasion it happened that the gallows bird Bernardone, the broker, was present at these conversations, and in support of Bandinello’s calumnies, he said to the Duke: “You must remember, prince, that statues on a large scale are quite a different dish of soup from little figures. I do not refuse him the credit of being excellent at statuettes in miniature. But you will soon see that he cannot succeed in that other sphere of art.” To these vile suggestions he added many others of all sorts, plying his spy’s office, and piling up a mountain of lies to boot.