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Virtue and Beauty: Leonardo’s Ginevra de’ Benci and Renaissance Portraits of Women

David Alan Brown, Mary Westerman Bulgarella, Elizabeth Cropper, Dale Kent, Victoria Kirkham, Roberta Orsi Landini, Eleonora Luciano, and Joanna Woods-Marsden
Published 2001
236 pages

Virtue and Beauty focuses on the extraordinary flowering of female portraiture in Florence from circa 1440 to circa 1540. In Florence during this period, portraiture expanded beyond the realm of rulers and their consorts to encompass women of the merchant class. The independent portraits included here, as opposed to donor portraits in frescoes or altarpieces, are autonomous, freestanding works that typically depict the sitters bust length or half-length in profile, three-quarter, or frontal view. Also included are several male portraits, medals, drawings, and busts, together with a selection of courtly precedents, Northern analogues, and a few works specifically related to Leonardo’s Ginevra de’ Benci. Arranged in roughly chronological order and in subgroups by medium, the entries allow the reader to observe shifts in artistic approaches, including the positioning of the sitter and the size of the completed work.

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