Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Button Wednesday : A Button for A Pope

It is Wednesday again, so it's BUTTON DAY on my blog !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week Button Wednesday is about a famous button made for a pope. A student of Michelangelo, named Benvenuto Cellini, was commissioned in 1529 to make the biggest, most beautiful and splendid button for a cape of Pope Clement VII. The way he got this commission and the making of this button was filled with adventures, which he all wrote down in his autobiography. He had to endure a 3 times weekly inspection by the Pope, his workroom was ransacked but the button was not stolen, he escaped a great flood in Rome with the button in his pocket, and he had to hide 8 days because he committed a revenge killing, to name only a few of his "adventures". Cellini spent 1.5 years to make the golden 15.2 cm or 6" button decorated with a magnificent diamond and other precious gems. The button showed God in the center with little cherubs around him in half-relief.
After the death of the Pope, the button was preserved in the Castle of St Angela, and it was admired for many years in Rome when it was brought out on Christmas, Easter and St Peter's days. It has since disappeared....
It was probably sacrified in 1797 by Pope Pius VI in his payment of 30,000,000 francs demanded by Napoleon after his campaign against the Papal States, which the Pope was "allowed" to pay partly in plate and jewels. But the button was never seen anymore :)
Fortunately, some time before that, there was an Englishman called Talman who wanted to have a picture of the famous button, and he commissioned Francesco Bartoli to make him a watercolor of the button; that was done somewhere between 1690 and 1730. That watercolor is now in the British Museum, so we can still get a glimpse of how that famous button would have looked like.

A pectoral of gold, made for Pope Clement VII by Benvenuto Cellini; circular brooch adorned with relief figures of Christ and of putti supporting gems, two rubies, two sapphires, four emeralds between and a central diamond
Watercolour and bodycolour, over black chalk

Have you seen a lovely, beautiful, stunning, crazy button or button-related thingy, or did you make something with a button / buttons, or did you even make buttons yourself, blog about it on your blog on Wednesday, and give the link here in the comments so that everybody can enjoy it !!


miss b said...

Wow, this is so fascinating! And reminds me of my love for Cellini, what a man!

Thank you so much for this story, I love your Button Wednesday!


Miss B

X by Leina Neima said...

Wow! Another fab posting by your private button-academy!

Stephanie Kilgast said...

Very interesting story! Thanks for telling us :)

l'actrice said...

Amazing story:-)

Unknown said...

I always look forward to button wednesdays :D

Unknown said...

That story is good enough for an exiting movie!