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English / USA Language: English / USA

Ginevra de Benci was the sixteen-year-old daughter of one of Leonardo’s best friends in Florence. 

We know that she was considered to be one of the most cultured and brilliant women of her generation, that she had many suitors, and even poets dedicated sonnets to her. The painting was commissioned from Leonardo by the Venetian Ambassador to Florence, Bernardo Bembo, who–having been rejected by the young woman–wanted a memento to take with him. In fact, the palm and laurel also belong to Bembo’s emblem and infrared examination has allowed us to discover Bembo’s family motto below the one dedicated to young Ginevra.

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