During the Italian Renaissance the rediscovery of classical forms gave fresh spirit to representational figure work, and the art of the goldsmith was in great demand for both secular and sacred ornament. Renaissance goldsmiths, the most celebrated of whom was Cellini, produced works of great refinement and detail. Later European goldwork tended to repeat Renaissance forms until the classic revival of the early 19th cent., when the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum revived interest in classical antiquity.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.