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


AT the end of a month and a half the King returned to Paris; and I, who had been working day and night, went to present myself before him, taking my model, so well blocked out that my intention could be clearly understood. Just about that time, the devilries of war between the Emperor and King had been stirred up again, so that I found him much harassed by anxieties. I spoke, however, with the Cardinal of Ferrara, saying I had brought some models which his Majesty had ordered, and begging him, if he found an opportunity, to put in a word whereby I might be able to exhibit them; the King, I thought, would take much pleasure in their sight. This the Cardinal did; and no sooner had he spoken of the models, than the King came to the place where I had set them up. The first of these was intended for the door of the palace at Fontainebleau. I had been obliged to make some alterations in the architecture of this door, which was wide and low, in their vicious French style. The opening was very nearly square, and above it was a hemicycle, flattened like the handle of a basket; here the King wanted a figure placed to represent the genius of Fontainebleau. I corrected the proportions of the doorway, and placed above it an exact half circle; at the sides I introduced projections, with socles and cornices properly corresponding: then, instead of the columns demanded by this disposition of parts, I fashioned two satyrs, one upon each side. The first of these was in somewhat more than half-relief, lifting one hand to support the cornice, and holding a thick club in the other; his face was fiery and menacing, instilling fear into the beholders. The other had the same posture of support; but I varied his features and some other details; in his hand, for instance, he held a lash with three balls attached to chains. Though I call them satyrs, they showed nothing of the satyr except little horns and a goatish head; all the rest of their form was human. In the lunette above I placed a female figure lying in an attitude of noble grace; she rested her left arm on a stag’s neck, this animal being one of the King’s emblems. On one side I worked little fawns in half relief, with some wild boars and other game in lower relief; on the other side were hounds and divers dogs of the chase of several species, such as may be seen in that fair forest where the fountain springs. The whole of this composition was enclosed in an oblong, each angle of which contained a Victory in bas-relief, holding torches after the manner of the ancients. Above the oblong was a salamander, the King’s particular device, with many other ornaments appropriate to the Ionic architecture of the whole design.