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Portrait of a Young Woman - Sandro Botticelli. 82 x 54 cm
Witnesses of that time recall that Simonetta Vespucci (and she is shown in the presented portrait) was almost the most beautiful woman of her time. She was admired by ladies, and, of course, men, and poor artists like Botticelli, and generous rulers, such as the brothers Lorenzo and Giuliano Medici. “Incomparable”, “Peerless”, “Beautiful Simonetta” - these laudatory epithets addressed to the heroine of the portrait have survived to our times.
Sandro Botticelli was not closely acquainted with the main muse of his work, namely, we see her on the canvases “Birth of Venus”, “Spring”, “Madonna and Child”, but this did not prevent the painter from admiring her beauty. She never posed for the master - he always recreated her image from memory, and many works were written after the death of the fateful beauty of the Renaissance (Simonetta died at the age of 23 of consumption). About 5–9 years after the tragic event, in the period from 1480 to 1485 this wonderful portrait was created.
A beautiful profile of a young girl appears before the viewer. A graceful silhouette, painted with accuracy and attention to every detail, a reference to the traditional portraits of Filippo Lippi. However, Botticelli managed to psychologize his image even within the framework of a rather strict tradition. Having created some ideal image from his model, the painter nevertheless encrypted references to the person being portrayed. You only need to be able to consider them.
The heroine’s look is attentive and serious. Historians have not yet come to the unambiguous conclusion whether the girl was Giuliano Medici's mistress or allowed herself only proudly to bear the title "lady of the heart", according to the traditions of the "courteous love" of that time. Although a hint of the Medici is present here - it is a necklace with a medallion on Madame Vespucci's neck. It is proved that the cameo in the medallion belonged to the Medici gem collection. Unruly curls can also be a hint of Simonetta’s passion for nature.
In fairness, it should be noted that the personality of the heroine of the painting by Botticelli is the guesswork of art historians from a later period, because the master himself did not mention what his muse-inspirers were called. Regarding this work, there is another unexpected opinion that the painting does not belong to Sandro “The Barrel” at all, but was made by his contemporary Jacopo Del Sellayo or some other artist from the workshop of Botticelli.
One way or another, we want to believe that this canvas depicts the inimitable Simonetta and was sung by none other than the great Italian Botticelli. So be it…