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Silver gilt copy of the Cellini Salt. Probably German ca 1870. The base is 15 cm x12 cm Height:15.5 cm Weight:1325 gr
The Cellini Salt Cellar (in Vienna called the Saliera – Italian for salt cellar) is a part-enameled gold table sculpture by Benvenuto Cellini. It was completed in 1543 for Francis I of France, from models that had been prepared many years earlier for Cardinal Ippolito d’Este. The Cellini Salt Cellar depicts a male figure representing the sea and a female figure that represents the earth. A small vessel meant to hold salt is placed next to the male figure.
It was modelled and cast by the Italian sculptor and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini for Francis I of France sometime between 1539 and 1543. It came into the possession of the Habsburgs as a gift by Charles IX of France to Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol. It was originally part of the Habsburg art collection at Castle Ambras, but was transferred to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna during the 19th century.
The Saliera is the only work of gold which can be attributed to Cellini with certainty and is sometimes referred to as the “Mona Lisa of Sculpture.” It was created in the style of the late Renaissance and allegorically portrays Terra e Mare in Cellini’s description in his Autobiography, allegorised as Neptune, god of the sea, and Ceres, goddess of the earth, symbolizing their unity in producing salt mined from the earth.
The salt cellar consists of ivory, gold, and vitreous enamel. It stands about 26 cm tall. The base is about 33.5 cm wide.
Two years after finishing this work Cellini returned to Florence, to the patronage of Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.