Virtue and Beauty: Leonardo's Ginevra de' Benci and Renaissance Portraits of Women / Edition 1

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Overview

This beautifully illustrated and exquisitely designed volume of paintings, sculpture, medals, and drawings celebrates the extraordinary flowering of female portraiture, mainly in Florence, beginning in the latter half of the fifteenth century. Included are many of the finest portraits of women (and a few of men) by Filippo Lippi, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Sandro Botticelli, Andrea del Verrocchio, and Leonardo da Vinci - whose remarkable double-sided portrait of Ginevra de' Benci, which departs notably from tradition, is the focus of special attention.
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Editorial Reviews

Time
The catalogue essays give an excellent account of the motives behind the portraits . . . the claiming of sexual and family territory, the presentation of the bride as property, and so on.
— Robert Hughes
Burlington Magazine
The reassuringly glossy catalogue is modestly priced . . . and, as an up-to-date work of reference, will easily outlive the exhibition.
— Alison Wright
Art Newspaper
[A] sumptuously illustrated catalogue.
The Art Book
[A] beautifully produced book . . . [with] beautiful production values and breathtaking . . . illustrations.
— Victoria Keller
Woman's Art Journal
The book is useful for its emphasis on the social and cultural elements that determined the purpose and aesthetics of the portraits, and for bringing together such a superb collection of examples to aid in our understanding of how female portraiture developed during the Renaissance. The beautiful illustrations . . . are a treat for the scholar and casual observer alike.
— Lilian H. Zirpolo
Library Journal
Accompanying a major exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, this book is the first on the theme of female portraiture during the Renaissance. Curator Brown and fellow experts on the Renaissance use examples from the work of Leonardo, Lippi, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and others to conclude that most of the portraits of women during this period were expressions of the wealth of the sitter's husband. The wife's elaborate jewelry and dress symbolized the honor of her husband's social standing rather than her own vanity. At the same time, the portrait of a beautiful woman during the Renaissance also was associated with the Neoplatonic ideal of beauty and its equation to virtue. It is noted, however, that while Leonardo's Ginevra de' Benci and Mona Lisa upheld this ideal of virtue and beauty, they departed from the tradition of depicting women in elaborate dress that reflected social status in favor of a more personal, humanist interpretation of female portraiture. Illustrated with beautiful color reproductions, this highly readable volume is recommended for all libraries with art collections. Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Coll., MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Time
The catalogue essays give an excellent account of the motives behind the portraits . . . the claiming of sexual and family territory, the presentation of the bride as property, and so on.
— Robert Hughes
Art Newspaper
[A] sumptuously illustrated catalogue.
Burlington Magazine
The reassuringly glossy catalogue is modestly priced . . . and, as an up-to-date work of reference, will easily outlive the exhibition.
— Alison Wright
Woman's Art Journal
The book is useful for its emphasis on the social and cultural elements that determined the purpose and aesthetics of the portraits, and for bringing together such a superb collection of examples to aid in our understanding of how female portraiture developed during the Renaissance. The beautiful illustrations . . . are a treat for the scholar and casual observer alike.
— Lilian H. Zirpolo
The Art Book
[A] beautifully produced book . . . [with] beautiful production values and breathtaking . . . illustrations.
— Victoria Keller
Time - Robert Hughes
The catalogue essays give an excellent account of the motives behind the portraits . . . the claiming of sexual and family territory, the presentation of the bride as property, and so on.
Burlington Magazine - Alison Wright
The reassuringly glossy catalogue is modestly priced . . . and, as an up-to-date work of reference, will easily outlive the exhibition.
The Art Book - Victoria Keller
[A] beautifully produced book . . . [with] beautiful production values and breathtaking . . . illustrations.
Woman's Art Journal - Lilian H. Zirpolo
The book is useful for its emphasis on the social and cultural elements that determined the purpose and aesthetics of the portraits, and for bringing together such a superb collection of examples to aid in our understanding of how female portraiture developed during the Renaissance. The beautiful illustrations . . . are a treat for the scholar and casual observer alike.
From the Publisher
"The catalogue essays give an excellent account of the motives behind the portraits . . . the claiming of sexual and family territory, the presentation of the bride as property, and so on."—Robert Hughes, Time

"[A] sumptuously illustrated catalogue."Art Newspaper

"The reassuringly glossy catalogue is modestly priced . . . and, as an up-to-date work of reference, will easily outlive the exhibition."—Alison Wright, Burlington Magazine

"[A] beautifully produced book . . . [with] beautiful production values and breathtaking . . . illustrations."—Victoria Keller, The Art Book

"The book is useful for its emphasis on the social and cultural elements that determined the purpose and aesthetics of the portraits, and for bringing together such a superb collection of examples to aid in our understanding of how female portraiture developed during the Renaissance. The beautiful illustrations . . . are a treat for the scholar and casual observer alike."—Lilian H. Zirpolo, Woman's Art Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691114569
  • Publisher: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • Publication date: 1/6/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 226
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 13.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Lenders to the Exhibition 7
Foreword 8
Acknowledgments 9
Introduction 11
Women in Renaissance Florence 25
Poetic Ideals of Love and Beauty 49
Portrait of the Lady, 1430-1520 63
Costume in Fifteenth-Century Florentine Portraits of Women 89
Catalogue of the Exhibition 99
Index 231
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