Botticelli: Gracefulness and Contemporaneousness by Patrizia Poggi

Updated: Jul 8, 2021


It is with great pleasure to re-introduce you to Patrizia Poggi, writer, consultant and promoter of art, culture and tourism, based Ravenna, and who, in 2020, has written some fascinating ACT articles/blogs about the Emilia-Romagna region being culturally connected to Britain. What prompted the idea for this particular article to be written was my immediate reaction in the recent media to the Sotherby’s sale of Botticelli’s beautiful painting “Young man holding a roundel” to a private buyer. Particularly about its connections, including the powerful influence of Dante Alighieri on Sandro Botticelli and his art. Patrizia’s resounding popularity of her ACT article of 16th January, on Dante 700th and the mystery of his bones, includes crucial insights. As a consequence, I asked Patrizia if she would consider writing a follow up feature researching the previous owners of the “Young man holding a roundel” and its journey to the present day, and also how many other paintings of Botticelli's are still retained in private ownership. All thus connecting back to the master Florentine Renaissance painter himself, his own artistic journey and his influence on contemporary interpretations. She responded positively and passionately. I love the connections...the cultural connections. So here she tells her captivating story…enjoy the experience! Marysia Zipser Founder of Art Culture Tourism ​Nottingham, UK

Botticelli: Gracefulness and ​Contemporaneousness by Patrizia Poggi

Sandro Botticelli (ca. 1445–1510) Idealised Portrait of a Lady (Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as Nymph), ca. 1480 Mixed technique on poplar, 81.3 x 54.0 min. 0.3 cm Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main CC BY-SA 4.0 Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main.

​The "beautiful Simonetta", the "sans par": these are the two nicknames with which one of the most famous noblewomen of the Florentine Renaissance, Simonetta Vespucci, born Cattaneo (Genoa or Portovenere, 1453 - Florence, 1476) has become legendary. A woman considered to be of unparalleled beauty, the object of the desire of many men of mid-fifteenth century Florence, exponent of one of the most ancient noble families of Genoa (the Cattaneo), married at the age of sixteen to the banker Marco Vespucci (relative of the better known Amerigo, the navigator who gave America its name), who died very young (at just twenty-three years old, probably of plague) and associated with the name of many artists of the time, for whom she would have posed. Many wanted to recognize her face, for example, in Venus or in the personification of Spring by Sandro Botticelli and they even wanted to attribute to the two an emotional bond, also on the basis of a legend (without any foundation) according to which Botticelli would asked to be buried next to Simonetta in the church of Ognissanti in Florence. The two were actually buried inside the Florentine church, but because the family tombs of both were in the same church (the Vespuccis owned a chapel, while Botticelli was buried in the cemetery of Ognissanti).

In recent days, the international press has highlighted the auction result achieved by a portrait of Botticelli (1445-1510) entitled "Young man holding a roundel". The painting, one of only three privately owned portraits of the Florentine Renaissance master, reached a record $ 92.2 million.

"In the popular imagination, no other painter evokes the golden age of the Florentine Renaissance with more force than Sandro Botticelli". Thus Christopher Apostle, director of Sotheby's Old Masters Painting Department, tells of the beauty and importance of this painting by Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (1445-1510), called Sandro Botticelli.