Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Renaissance Portrait

Boticelli's Dream Girl
by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt
Botticelli, Ideal Portrait of a Lady
The latest exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art focuses on Renaissance portraiture. This is a must see for portrait artists, or anyone who loves romantic Italian art. The exhibition is broken down by geographical location as there is a Venice room, a Florence room etc and includes not just paintings but sculptural portrait busts as well.

Detail from Birth of Venus
A highlight of the exhibition is a breathtaking portrait by Botticelli. Immediately as you walk into the Florence room you are drawn to the idealized painting of Simonetta Vespucci. She was a bit of a cult figure and died at a tragically young age. Her legendary beauty was described as flowing curly tendrils and pearly white skin. Simonetta became known as the most beautiful woman in Florence, and later the most beautiful woman of the Renaissance. She looks like the Venus figure in Botticelli's Birth of Venus and in fact many art historian have debated whether she served as a model or muse. Certainly, the painter would have had the most beautiful woman of his time in mind when painting the Goddess of Beauty.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini
through March 18, 2012