Stolen Art Recovered | Cellini's Saltcellar of Francis I Worth $60,000
VIENNA, Austria Spectacular news for art lovers everywhere is the recovery of the 16th century masterpiece, The Saltcellar
(Saliera) of Francis I, a magnificent work of gold and enamel of 1540-43 by Florentine Renaissance/ Mannerist goldsmith, artist
extraordinaire, Benvenuto Cellini. 10 inches tall and valued at $65 million, the Saltcellar was buried in a forest near Vienna
after it was stolen in 2003 from Vienna's Art History Museum. According to the thief himself, Robert Mang, an alarm specialist, the theft of
the Saltcellar was nothing more than a prank. He had no idea that the Saltcellar was so valuable. The work was recovered
January 20, 2006, but this prank will cost Austrian Mang four years in prison.
Images of Greek God and Goddess Fit for a King's Dining Table
The Saltcellar depicts the Greek god of the sea, Neptune, and the goddess of agriculture, Ceres, appropriate culinary
images to grace the dining table of the King of France. The importance of the king's guests was revealed by how close they were seated to the
Saltcellar. This is the artist's sole remaining authenticated gold work. Cellini's Saltcellar was compared by the museum to be
equivalent to Leonardo's Mona Lisa. Extraordinarily talented, but not particularly modest, Cellini would have agreed with this
assessment, as does this author.
Brenda Harness, Art Historian