The only extant work in gold by this Florentine artist already famous during his lifetime, Cellini’s masterpiece is far more than a precious salt and pepper cellar. Its decorative program turns it into an allegory of the Cosmos, represented here by the deities Neptune (sea) and Tellus (earth) as well as by the depictions of the times of day and the four winds on the base. This cosmos is being ruled by the man who had commissioned the work, here represented by his arms and emblems: King Francis I of France.
Table Decoration; Vessel; Salt Cellar
Gold, enamel, ebony, ivory
28,5 cm × 21,5 cm × 26,3 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Kunstkammer
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