La Bella Simonetta (1469) by Sandro BotticelliMarubeni Gallery
Botticelli’s "La Bella Simonetta", the only tempera painting by the artist currently located in Japan, has been carefully housed by Marubeni in its collection for 53 years since it was imported from the UK in 1969.
In this exhibition, we have tried to reveal the exquisite appeal of both the painting and its model, Simonetta herself, in detail, while tracing the provenance of the painting in chronological order with the aid of the invaluable documentation and through multi-angled investigations.
＊Exhibition has ended. December 1 (Thu.), 2022 - January 31 (Tue.), 2023
Florence's "incomparable" beauty_1Marubeni Gallery
Botticelli, an Artist Inspired by Simonetta
Sandro Botticelli who painted La Bella Simonetta. was a master of the Renaissance. In the early 1480s he painted his masterpieces, La Primavera; (The Spring) (Uffizi Galleries) and The Birth of Venus (Uffizi Galleries).
Simonetta is said to have inspired Botticelli to create these paintings, she was born in 1453, as a daughter of a wealthy merchant in Genoa, married Marco Vespucci, the cousin of a famous explorer Amerigo Vespucci, and lived in Florence.
Florence's "incomparable" beauty_3Marubeni Gallery
Tracing the Provenance of La Bella Simonetta
Since La Bella Simonetta was rediscovered in Bologna, Italy, in the early 18th century, it has traveled to a total of five countries–France, Britain, Germany, and back to Britain–before arriving in Japan in 1969, when it was imported from Britain by Marubeni Corporation.
Simonetta's History_2Marubeni Gallery
The fact that the provenance of this painting can be traced back so far is significant, as it is quite rare to be able to trace the provenance of any of Botticelli’s works back to the early 19th century (or earlier) and to even have a copperplate reproduction from that period.
masterpiece of Botticelli_1Marubeni Gallery
Botticelli's Masterpieces Modeled on Simonetta
Ruskin, an art critic of the late 19th century, and others, however, have said that most of the women in Botticelli’s paintings used the same model, speculating that it might be Simonetta. Indeed, the faces of the women in La Primavera (Spring) and The Birth of Venus, they sometimes appear to be depictions of the same woman.
The jewel pendant of the same design worn by La Bella Simonetta in the collection of the Marubeni Corporation is seen repeatedly on the breasts of Simonetta-like women in Botticelli’s paintings.
This painting can be interpreted that this portrait was painted to commemorate Simonetta’s marriage, with the depicted necklace wishing the young bride good health, chastity, and peace in her married life.
Simonetta' lives onMarubeni Gallery
Simonetta Lives on
In the latter half of the 20th century, biographies and novels about Simonetta were published in countries such as Brazil, the United States, the UK, France, Italy, and Japan, increasing interest in Simonetta worldwide.
masterpiece of Botticelli_3Marubeni Gallery