Benvenuto Cellini was an Italian goldsmith, metalworker and sculptor of the sixteenth century. Dali illustrated a 1946 edition of his autobiography. The artist was interested in Italian
Classical art and architecture, greatly inspired by visits to the country. He painted Rome in 1949.
Benvenuto Cellini and Jupiter
illustrates the story of Cellini, who while working for the King of France, unveils his new sculpture of Jupiter, (the supreme God in Roman mythology).
Cellini had made his Jupiter entirely from silver, in one hand he held a thunderbolt, in the other the world. Dali's Jupiter fills most of the picture; he seems to be moving, with one foot
held out behind him as if he is about to trample on Cellini in the foreground.
Once the figure of Jupiter was completed, Cellini positioned the piece in a dark hallway at the king's palace. He made a servant stand behind the sculpture with a white torch so that the
silver would shine in the dark. Behind Jupiter were several more traditional bronze sculptures by Bologna, which can aslo be seen in Dali's illustration.