Benvenuto Cellini, renowned for his extraordinary skills in goldsmithing and sculpting during 16th century Italy, has long been celebrated for his exceptional talents. However, a recent discovery of one of his portraits has unveiled a previously unknown facet of his genius—he was also a masterful painter. This revelation adds a captivating new layer of depth to his already impressive body of work. The newfound recognition of Cellini's prowess as a painter sheds light on his remarkable versatility and expands our appreciation of his artistic legacy.
In 2004, a remarkable discovery unfolded as Benvenuto Cellini's self-portrait came to light. Since then, this painting has been meticulously researched and studied by the world's most eminent art historians hailing from Italy, the U.K, and France. Remarkably, it stands as the sole known painted self-portrait executed by Cellini's own hand. Intriguing historical records reveal that the portrait once adorned Cellini's entrance hall, as noted in the notary's ledger of his estate upon his death in 1571.
What makes this revelation even more captivating is the role the portrait played as a key to unlocking a long-hidden secret. Art historians, with the aid of this self-portrait, embarked on a journey of discovery, unearthing the fact that Cellini had hidden his self-portraits throughout his body of work. For centuries, this secret remained concealed from the world, as the field of art history had lost knowledge of Cellini's facial features. The self-portrait not only provides a visual representation of the artist himself but also acts as a gateway to unraveling the enigmatic presence of Cellini's self-portraits scattered within his creations. It represents an extraordinary rediscovery and rekindles our understanding of Cellini's artistic vision and self-expression.
Sarah Walden is a respected conservator and restorer at the Louvre museum and a Fellow of the International Institute of Conservation.
An exploration of the relationship between the portrait and Benvenuto Cellini's wider artistic oeuvre in an academic context
The expertise is brought to you by Dr. Analisa Di Maria and Dr. Andrea Da Montefeltro, both members of the Centro per l'UNESCO in Florence, Italy.
Multispectral analysis provides a unique perspective on the portrait by revealing details that are not visible to the naked eye
Discovered in 2004 in Fayence, the portrait was purchased as an unknown painting.
Preliminary Study of the portrait
Studied by eminent laboratories and conservators in France including pigment analyses and x-ray carried out by laboratories that work with the Louvre museum, confirmed the painting is dated from the 16th century.
Dr. Raoul Perrot, a distinguished anthropologist, has pioneered a revolutionary method for identifying sitters in paintings by studying the portrait. Through his expertise, we gain profound insights into Cellini's oeuvre, including the remarkable ability to unlock long-lost knowledge about Benvenuto Cellini's own face.
Studied By Dr. Sarah Walden
The painting undergoes extensive study by Dr. Sarah Walden, a conservator and restorer at the Louvre museum and a Fellow of the International Institute of Conservation producing a conditional report which further confirms previous scientific conclusions about the portrait's dating to the 16th century.
Unveiled in Italy and Fund created
In commemoration of the 450th year since Cellini's death, we proudly unveiled the portrait on Italian soil. The momentous occasion took place at a broadcasted conference held at the prestigious Palazzo di Gran Guardia in Verona, Italy. This event served as a tribute to Cellini's legacy and brought together esteemed experts, art enthusiasts, and a global audience to witness the unveiling of the portrait in all its glory. The portrait was ceremoniously handed over to the fund, solidifying its significance as a precious asset for preservation and appreciation.
Cellini Art Fund Diversifies Activity
In 2023, the Cellini Art Fund embarked on a strategic expansion, diversifying its activities to encompass blockchain, media, and audiovisual projects, including films and TV series. This bold step not only provides the fund with a unique advantage but also aligns perfectly with our mission to make art more accessible to all and foster increased cultural awareness worldwide.