Ginevra de' Benci  by Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci, Ginevra de' Benci (reverse), c. 1474/1478, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund

The sprig of juniper in the center of the wreath represents Ginevra herself. In Italian, the word for juniper ("ginepro") sounds a lot like her name. The same plant is featured prominently on the other side of this painting. It is a symbol of purity, while the laurel and palm represent intellectual and moral virtue. The Latin inscription "Beauty Adorns Virtue," with the word for beauty encircling the juniper, also reminds viewers that Ginevra de' Benci was a beautiful, intelligent, and virtuous young woman. 

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Copyright © 2005 National Gallery of A

Copyright © 2007 National Gallery of Art, Washington