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|"Perseus" by Benvenuto Cellini, Loggia dell Signoria, Florence, Italy.|
Statue of "Perseus" by Benvenuto Cellini, one of Europe's most
distiguished bronze statues. It shows the mythical Greek hero, the son
of Zeus and Danae, holding the severed and snake-covered head of Medussa, whose
gaze was said to turn humans into stone. The statue took almost ten years to complete
(1545-1553), the size and difficulty of casting so huge a figure having resulted in
countless false starts.
Cellini, a larger than life figure, described in his Autobiography of 1554
how the furnaces melting the bronze became so hot they set fire to his
house. As the inferno raged, Cellini and his associates hurled
all available metal in the house into the melt - including the cutlery
and family pewter. When the bronze cooled, the statue was revealed as complete -
a feat many had said was impossible - save for three toes on the right
foot, which were added later.
Last Revised October 12, 2007