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Benvenuto Cellini (150071) and Rainstopping

Benvenuto Cellini (150071) and Rainstopping Benvenuto Cellini (150071), the renowned goldsmith and sculptor of the late Renaissance in Italy, claimed in his autobiography that he directed artillery fire at rain clouds, thus stopping the rain. The occasion was the festive entrance into Rome (on 3 November 1538) of the Duchess Margaret of Austria, natural daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, who was also King of Spain Charles V. She came to Rome to be wedded to the grandson of the reigning Pontiff, Paul III.Since Cellini tended to be boastful, we checked three independent contemporary sources describing Margaret's reception. None of the three mentions firing at clouds; they do not even say that there was rain on that day. It must be added, however, that all three accounts are very brief, and that in the past, records of events usually put emphasis on actions of rulers and other important personages, paying little attention to environmental (and even to social) conditions. Thus, the most that we can say in regard of Cellini's claim is that we cannot corroborate his assertion of firing at clouds.Attention is drawn also to Cellini's excellent description of a phenomenon in atmospheric optics, viz. that of the Heiligenschein (of the wet type). Cicely M. Botley points out that this phenomenon was described by Cellini 250 years before the first scientific presentation of the observation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society American Meteorological Society

Benvenuto Cellini (150071) and Rainstopping

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0477
DOI
10.1175/1520-0477(1981)062<1454:BCA>2.0.CO;2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Benvenuto Cellini (150071), the renowned goldsmith and sculptor of the late Renaissance in Italy, claimed in his autobiography that he directed artillery fire at rain clouds, thus stopping the rain. The occasion was the festive entrance into Rome (on 3 November 1538) of the Duchess Margaret of Austria, natural daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, who was also King of Spain Charles V. She came to Rome to be wedded to the grandson of the reigning Pontiff, Paul III.Since Cellini tended to be boastful, we checked three independent contemporary sources describing Margaret's reception. None of the three mentions firing at clouds; they do not even say that there was rain on that day. It must be added, however, that all three accounts are very brief, and that in the past, records of events usually put emphasis on actions of rulers and other important personages, paying little attention to environmental (and even to social) conditions. Thus, the most that we can say in regard of Cellini's claim is that we cannot corroborate his assertion of firing at clouds.Attention is drawn also to Cellini's excellent description of a phenomenon in atmospheric optics, viz. that of the Heiligenschein (of the wet type). Cicely M. Botley points out that this phenomenon was described by Cellini 250 years before the first scientific presentation of the observation.

Journal

Bulletin of the American Meteorological SocietyAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Oct 1, 1981

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