Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cellini Saliera

Cellini Saliera in Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.
Cellini Salt Cellar. Kunstkammer Wien, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.
The Cellini Saliera is one of the many precious objects in Kunstkammer Wien (Art Room Vienna) of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

The Cellini Saliera is a gold table sculture created by the Italian goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini.

Saliera is the Italian word for salt cellar. It was made in 1543 for king Francis I of France who was a generous patron of the arts. The Saliera was given as a gift by Charles IX of France to Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol.

The Cellini Saliera was part of the Habsburg art collection at Castle Ambras but it was moved to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna in the 19th century.

Picture of the Cellini Saliera in Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.
Terra e Mare / Earth and Sea
The Cellini Salieara was created in the Mannerist style of the late Renaissance. It is an allegorical portrayal of Terra e Mare (Earth and Sea). The sea is represented by the male figure which is reclining beside a ship for holding the salt. The female figure represents the earth. The temple like box next to the female figure is intended for pepper.

The Cellini salt and pepper cellar is about 26 cm high. It is made of ivory, rolled gold and enamel. The gold is hammered by hand.

In 2003, the Saliera was stolen from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. It was later found in a forest near the town of Zwettl in Austria. The sculpture is certainly not for sale but it has been insured for more than $60 million, an amount indicative of its great value.

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