Trinket Tuesday: Ginevra de’ Benci

Today’s trinket is a Leonardo da Vinci, Ginevra de’ Benci (c. 1474). Not many people know that there is a da Vinci painting in the Americas. It is located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

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Ginevra de’ Benci (c. 1474)

The NGA is my second favorite museum to visit locally, right behind Hillwood Mansion and Museum. The museum has countless beautiful paintings to my heart’s content, loads of amazing decorative art pieces, the space is gorgeous and it’s free to visit.

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The museum acquired the da Vinci painting in 1967 for $5 million from the princely family of Lichtenstein. It’s not quite clear how this painting made it into their ownership, but it was part of their collection by 1733.

According to the docent during my tour, the princely family of Lichtenstein lost much of their wealth during WWII and may have felt forced to part with many of their great works of art to gain financial stability. It was quite a coup for the NGA to purchase a da Vinci.

Who was Ginevra? She was born into a wealthy Florentine family. She married Luigi Niccolini in 1474 when she was sixteen. This portrait was painted in honor of her upcoming wedding, as was customary of the times. She and Luigi did not have any children and we don’t seem to know much else of Ginevra. Regardless, she lives on in her beautiful portrait.

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The reverse side of the portrait reads “Beauty adorns Virtue.”

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Links for your enjoyment: da Vinci’s biography, National Gallery of Art, the 1967 press release, biographies of the Princes and Princesses of Lichtenstein.

Trinket Tuesday is where I share some of the lovely things I discover during my travels, research or around town. All pictures are my own (unless I state otherwise). I hope you enjoy!