Cellini advises us on the daily routine we should adopt as artists and other habits he deems unfit for artistic practice:
“How you should regulate your life in the interests of decorum and the condition of your hand; and in what company…
“Your life should always be arranged just as if you were studying theology, or philosophy, or other theories, that is to say, eating and drinking moderately, at least twice a day, electing digestible and wholesome dishes, and light wines; saving and sparing your hand, preserving it from such strains as heaving stones, crowbar, and many other things which are bad for your hand, from giving them a chance to weary it. There is another cause which, if you indulge it, can make your hand so unsteady that it will waver more, and flutter far more, than leaves do in the wind, and this is indulging too much in the company of woman.”
You’ve been warned. ;-)
He has further advice on hand care:
“And I give you this advice, that the day before the day you want to work at this job, you hold your hand to your neck, or in your bosom, so as to get it all unburdened of blood and weariness.”
On making ultramarine:
“And know that making it is an occupation for pretty girls rather than for men; for they are always at home, and reliable, and they have more dainty hands. Just beware of old women.”
Some interesting burnishing ideas:
“What stones are good for burnishing…”
“When you judge that the gold is ready to be burnished, take a stone known as hematite; and I will teach you how to prepare it; and, failing this stone, and even better for anyone who can make the outlay, sapphires, emeralds, balas rubies, topazes, rubies, and garnets: the choicer the stone, the better it is. A dog’s tooth is also good, or a lion’s, a wolf’s, a cat’s, and in general that of any animal which feeds decently upon flesh.”
Jewellery and dentistry.
Although Cellini doesn’t seem to know much about women, he nevertheless has make up tips:
“The Perils of Indulgence in Cosmetics”
“You would have occasion, in the service of young ladies, especially those of Tuscany, to display certain colours to which they take a fancy. And they are in the habit of beautifying themselves with certain waters. But since the Paduan women do not do so; and so as not to give them occasion to reproach me; and likewise because it is contrary to the will of God and of Our Lady; because of all this I shall keep silence. But I will tell you that if you wish to keep your complexion for a long time, you must make a practice of washing in water - spring or well or river: warning you that if you adopt any artificial preparation your countenance soon becomes withered, and your teeth black; and in the end ladies grow old before the course of time; they come out the most hideous old women imaginable. And this will have to be enough discussion of the matter.”
On casting faces for sculpture - business advice on how to treat your clients:
“And bear in mind that if this person whom you are casting is very important, as in the case of lords, kings, popes, emperors, you mix this plaster with tepid rose water; and for other people any tepid spring or well or river water is good enough.”
Finally, on casting yourself:
“How to make a cast of your own person”
“Get ready a quantity of plaster or of clay, well worked over and clean, wet up quite soft, as if it were an ointment; and have it spread out on a good broad table, such as a dining table. Have it placed on the ground; have this plaster or clay spread out on it a foot deep. Fling yourself on it”…
…I can just visualise the flinging. From such a serious person as Cellini, this is the bit where he gets to have fun. Flinging himself on wet clay at the end of the day
I made his recipe for Bone black once… but had to adjust for not having a rooftop in Italy to do the drying…. 😳
Yes he does have a 'can-do' attitude which I like. The original Nike guy - just do it. He makes it sound so easy!
I have to say I LOVE this book. Every time I think something is complicated or too hard I pick it up and read his summary and then have no problem diving in. Flinging myself!
He's the fun guy. Just imagine the flinging demonstration ;-)
This was brill - if you had a stand-up show, I'd be the first to sign up!