ginevra or nah

ginevra

The portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci by Leonardo da Vinci is the only one on display in Americas. There’s some debate as to whether the juniper tree and sprigs on the back of the work are a pun on her name (juniper is ginepro in Italian) or not. Traditionally, junipers are symbols of pain and loss, and are often used in widow portraiture. If that’s the case, there’s a chance that Ginevra is someone totally different! Scholar Maike Vogt-Luerssen said she’s Fioretta Gorini, widow of Giuliano de’ Medici (of, like, the Medicis!), who was assassinated in 1478. He was stabbed 23 times. Yikes! I thought that stuff only happened on the Game of Thrones.

I suppose I’ll have questions for the National Gallery, since their website totally takes the claim of her both being Ginevra and da Vinci using the juniper/ginepro as a pun for her name.

The painting is unique in that there’s a back. It says “beauty adorns virtue.” She also used to have hands, but the panel was cut down due to damage.

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