Benvenuto Cellini’s Bid for Membership in the Florentine Confraternity of San Giovanni Battista detta dello Scalzo

Douglas N. Dow


An unpublished notice in the records of the confraternity of San Giovanni Battista detta dello Scalzo reveals that Benvenuto Cellini initiated a bid for membership in the company in 1557. Although Cellini seems an unlikely confratello, membership in a confraternity would have proved especially attractive to him during the difficult times he faced from 1555 to 1559. Sponsored by Roberto di Filippino Lippi, Cellini shared professional and social ties with several of the company’s members, and he may have hoped that his affiliation with the confraternity would improve his position in Florence, which had deteriorated after 1555. Cellini, beset by legal troubles and convicted a second time for sodomy in 1557, did not follow through on his initial acceptance into the organization.

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