Ritratto di Esmeralda Brandini (c.1470-1480)

Botticelli, Sandro (c.1445-1510)

Ritratto di Esmeralda Brandini (Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli)
Tempera on panel, 65.7 x 41 cm
Victoria & Albert MuseumLondon

Sandro Botticelli (1444/5-1510) was trained in Florence in the studio of Fra Filippo Lippi and joined the Compagnia di S Luca in 1472. Botticelli made the most of his career in Florence under the patronage of the Medici although he was summoned to Rome by Pope Sixtus IV in 1481, together with Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli, to join Perugino in decorating the walls of the Sistine Chapel. From ca. 1490, his style changed quite significantly due to a deeper crisis of style and expression. As a result his style soon waned and he died in poverty in Florence in 1510. Among his assistants and pupils were Filippino Lippi (ca.1457-1504), Bartolomeo di Giovanni (active 1488-ca.1500) and Jacopo del Sellaio (ca. 1441-1493). This painting is a typical example of Botticelli‘s early portraits. The identity of the sitter, Smeralda Bandinelli, wife of Viviano Bandinelli and grandmother of the 16th century sculptor Baccio Bandinelli, derives from the inscription on the window frame. She wears a summer at-home costume comprising a white silk or linen camisa generously cut as the many folds at the neck and sleeves show; a ‘cotta’ of red silk, slit and laced fashionably at the forearms to reveal the ‘camisa’; and, overall, a ‘gonella’ or summer overgown of sheer gold edged fabric with loose cuffs and open from the waist to show the silk beneath. (V&A)

See also:

• Brandini, Esmeralda