by Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
The Birth of Venus and La Primavera (the Allegory of the Spring) by Sandro Botticelli,
masterpieces of the Uffizi museum in Florence, Italy.
She was the noble Genoese Simonetta Cattaneo, married at sixteen years of age to a distant cousin of Amerigo Vespucci. The couple moved to Florence, where the beauty of Simonetta became legendary. Giuliano de' Medici, younger brother of Lorenzo il Magnifico, fell hopelessly in love with her and wanted the famous artist Sandro Botticelli to immortalize her in his paintings.
The beauty of Simonetta also bewitched Botticelli. To him, Simonetta was the personification of beauty. He portrayed her not only in The Birth of Venus and in the Allegory of the Spring, but in many other portraits dedicated to her.
Death took Simonetta, sick with tuberculosis, when she was only 22 years old, but Botticelli continued to love her and to remember her in his work. She was also the inspiring muse of many other artists.
It seems that Botticelli's love for Simonetta
was platonic, but surely eternal.
In his will, Botticelli, the master, asked to be buried at her feet in the Church of the Ognissanti in Florence, which belonged to the Vespucci family.
Simonetta, as a personification of beauty, also became the object of worship for the famous poets of the Medici’s court in Florence. Even Lorenzo il Magnifico dedicated four sonnets to her.