Thursday, April 21, 2005

Strange news on Thursday

Yes, yes, I know, but Blogger kept losing my posts, so I'm a day late. I saw this in The Times this week. Now I'm quite open-minded about what constitues art, but this guy is a complete and utter waste of space.

I was more interested in this article, in which the writer mentions a certain Benvenuto Cellini, who crucified a man because he wanted to study how the body reacted, in order to become a better artist. I was intrigued about Benvenuto, so I had a surf about to see what I could find. And what a tale I found!

Benvenuto was exiled as a teenager from his native city for taking part in a brawl, and continued to come to the attention of the authorities throughout his life. There is a record of his crimes here. He was a murderer, pardoned by The Pope, who was later imprisoned for theft. He was also an early gay figure.

His autobiography is also online at the very worthy Gutenburg Project. Yes, you do have to flick past about 5 pages of terms and conditions, but you can eventually read his autobiography. This is a rather picaresque text which seems partly fictional, particularly the rather colourful seduction scenes (of several females), considering that he was so obviously gay.

I was interested to learn that his most famous work, a beautiful salt cellar, was stolen a few years ago. It looks wonderful, but I'm not sure it looks that practical for pouring!

Anyway, my point is that Benvenuto (it means welcome, by the way) was a real rebel. He was banished from a city, and arrested for murder, mayhem, and general Graham Norton type goings on, and maintained his freedom by hook or by crook. He wrote his autobiography, giving details of womanising which would make Casanova look like a cocoa and slippers type chap, and was imprisoned for jewel theft. He still managed to make some wonderful metalwork.

And Mark McGowan thinks he's sooo clever because he scratched some cars and took photos of it. Although apparently he hasn't, it was only a hoax gone horribly wrong. And he wanted to draw attention to car crime, not condone car keying. Oooh you rebel! I bet Benvenuto is turning in his grave. Along with Carravaggio.


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