It is said that Simonetta Vespucci was one of the most beautiful women in Florence in the middle of the 15th century. She was a model for Botticelli. Although the portrait is an ode to beauty, it is also a posthumous tribute. Simonetta Vespucci died prematurely, aged twenty-three, from tuberculosis. In memory of the young woman, following her death, Giuliano de Medici, brother of Lorenzo the Magnificent, commissioned the painting from Piero di Cosimo (1462-1521). The symbolism depicting the snake evoking the eternal cycle of life and the dead trees on one side, and the live trees on the other, evokes the brief destiny of the model and the cycle of life.


  • Title: Simonetta Vespucci
  • Creator: Piero di Cosimo
  • Date Created: Vers 1480
  • Physical Dimensions: 57 x 42 cm
  • Provenance: Henri d'Orléans duc d'Aumale's donation, made subject to usufruct in 1886
  • Subject Keywords: Portrait, Simonetta Vespucci
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © RMN-Grand Palais domaine de Chantilly Adrien Didierjean
  • Medium: Tempera on wood

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