Benvenuto Cellini’s Saliera: A world-famous saltcellar 1543

The Saliera, of rolled gold, was created by Cellini for Francis I of France between 1540 and 1543. From his descendant Charles IX it passed to Archduke Ferdinand II. The saltcellar shows an allegory of the Earth and the interplay of land and sea. Its right side has a man with a trident and a ship symbolizing water, while its left side has a woman representing the Earth. The base depicts the winds, the times of day and human activities.

 

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