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Angered by his father at the age of sixteen Cellini left Florence for Rome, stopping by way of Lucca and Pisa. In Pisa he found a goldsmith willing to take him in as an apprentice. Returning to Florence for a brief visit, he met Italian sculptor, Piero Torrigiano. Showing a sketch he had drawn from copying the work of Michelangelo for the Florentine Signoria (The Battle of Cascina), he confided to Torrigiano that while the divine Michel Agnolo [sic] finished the Sistine Chapel ceiling, his genius never returned to its previous level in later life. Looking at the sketch Torrigiano told Cellini the story of how he had broken the nose of Michelangelo as a boy. Cellini already idolized Michelangelo by this time and disliked Torrigiano thereafter, but it is from the autobiography of Cellini that we know this story.

The exploits of Cellini are too numerous to relate. If the papal and civil authorities who encountered the arrogant and explosive artist kept rap sheets, Cellini would have a long one. He finally made it to Rome, where he engaged in an altercation with a young man whom he struck. The punishment being less stringent for delivering a slap rather than a blow, Cellini told the magistrates he only gave a slap, however, he was the only one punished and ordered to pay a fine.

Angered by this turn of events, Cellini went that night to the home of his tormentor where he stabbed him with a knife. Fleeing the scene, he encountered twelve family members of the young man who, according to Cellini, set upon him with an iron shovel, an iron pipe, an anvil, hammers and cudgels. A mighty battle ensued with Cellini wielding his knife, and afterward, the twelve searched among their dead and wounded only to find that, strangely, there were no dead and wounded. No one sustained any injuries except for the first man Cellini stabbed in the house. After such a story, it is not surprising then that Cellini claimed credit for his single-handed defense of Castel Sant'Angelo during the sack of Rome in 1526 as though no other defenders were needed.
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