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How much is Ginevra de Benci worth
Ginevra de’ Benci is a name that may not be familiar to many people today, but she was a prominent figure in Renaissance Florence. She was a member of one of the city’s most powerful families and a patron of the arts. She was also the subject of a famous portrait by Leonardo da Vinci. In this article, we will explore the life of Ginevra de’ Benci and the significance of her portrait.
Ginevra de’ Benci was born in 1458 into a wealthy and influential family in Florence. Her father was a prominent banker, and her mother was the daughter of a prominent politician. From a young age, Ginevra was well-educated and cultured, with a keen interest in literature and the arts.
In 1474, Ginevra married Luigi di Bernardo Niccolini, a member of another wealthy and influential family in Florence. The marriage was arranged by their families for political and economic reasons, but it is said that Ginevra and Luigi were genuinely fond of each other. They had no children, and Ginevra is believed to have suffered several miscarriages.
Despite her role as a wife and a member of a powerful family, Ginevra was also known for her intellectual pursuits and her love of the arts. She was a patron of the poet Bernardo Bembo and the artist Sandro Botticelli, among others. She was also a member of a literary society that included some of the most prominent thinkers and writers of the day.
It was through this literary society that Ginevra came to know Leonardo da Vinci. In 1474, Leonardo was still a young artist in his twenties, but he was already making a name for himself in Florence. He was commissioned to paint a portrait of Ginevra by her admirer Bernardo Bembo, and it is this portrait that has made her famous.
The portrait is a small oil painting on a wooden panel, measuring just 38 by 37 centimeters. It shows Ginevra in three-quarter profile, with her hair pulled back in a tight bun and a sprig of juniper, or ginepro in Italian, in her hair. Her expression is serious and contemplative, with a hint of sadness in her eyes.
What makes the portrait so remarkable is not just its beauty but its innovative composition. Leonardo broke with tradition by showing Ginevra against a background of a landscape, rather than against a plain or patterned background. He also used a technique called sfumato, in which he blended the edges of Ginevra’s features and clothing to create a soft, hazy effect. This technique was to become one of Leonardo’s signature techniques and would influence countless artists in the centuries to come.
The portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci is not only a masterpiece of Renaissance art but also a window into the life and times of one of Florence’s most remarkable women. It shows us a woman who was not content to be a mere ornament in a powerful man’s life but who had her own passions and interests. It also shows us the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, who was already pushing the boundaries of what art could be at a young age.
Today, the portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where it is one of the most treasured works in the museum’s collection. It is a testament to the enduring power of art and the people who inspire it.