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Cellini's Jupiter and Danae with child Perseus(1552); replica

Benvenuto Cellini

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

The exhibition features replicas of the five bronze statues, including Perseus with the Head of Medusa (1552), created by Benvenuto Cellini (Italian, 1500-71) for the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.These were displayed at the Special Project Space in the Museum Plaza. These bronze replicas have been moulded after Cellini's Jupiter and Danae with child Perseus, the original is located at the Bargello National Museum, Florence. Benvenuto Cellini was one of the most acclaimed and exposed court artists. His Florentine masterpiece is the Perseus and Medusa for the Loggia dei Lanzi. Unveiled in 1554 after nine years of work, it was highly celebrated by the Florentine public. Like Ghiberti, Cellini wrote an autobiography. In dramatic words he describes the casting of the statue of Perseus, holding the head of petrifying Medusa and positioned over her, with streams of blood breaking out of both body and head. It is the richest and most fascinating text of the Renaissance about working in bronze, evoking the vulcanic element of the liquid metal itself. The bronze group was placed in the Loggia on a marble plinth, with niches on each of its four sides, and a relief panel in front of it. For the niches Cellini created bronze figures of ancient classical Gods: Jupiter, Minerva, Mercury and Danae (the mother of Perseus). When they were finished, Cellini showed them to the duchess Eleonora of Toleda, who liked them so much that she wanted to keep them in the Palace, whereas the artist took them secretly—so contemporary voices say—to the piazza and mounted them on the plinth of the statue. The replicas of the four figures shown here, serve as a counterpoint to Ghiberti’s partly restored panels of the North doors. They belong to the other dimension of Renaissance imagery, the mythological, rather than the religious. Cellini’s statue (here represented by a small scale bronze copy, which does not fully capture the beauty and strength of the original) and the smaller figures were carefully restored between 1996 to 2000 in an open laboratory which could be followed via video transmission. After long debates, the original monumental statue has returned to the piazza (being constantly monitored), whereas the figures and the relief of the plinth are replicas, and the originals are now displayed in the Museo del Bargello.

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  • Title: Cellini's Jupiter and Danae with child Perseus(1552); replica
  • Creator: Original by Benvenuto Cellini, bronze copy courtesy the Frilli Gallery/Guild of the Dome Association, Florence
  • Location: Florence, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: Replicas, Jupiter H 43.31 inches; Danae with child Perseus H 33.86 inches
  • Material: Small scale bronze copy
  • Gallery: Courtesy The Frilli Gallery/Guild of the Dome Association, Florence, from the exhibition, 'The Florentine Renaissance: The City as the Crucible of Culture' at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (March 30, 2014 - July 8, 2014)

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