More Renaissance Trivia: Venus Vespucci

Amerigo Vespucci  had a cuckhold cousin named Marco. Marco Vespucci.

America is named after Amerigo Vespucci. That part hardly counts as trivia. Almost everyone knows this.

Amerigo was a Florentine, explorer, map maker, maritime navagator, story teller, and friend of Christopher Columbus, and the executive in charge of the Medici business operations in Spain.

Marco, Amerigo’s cuckhold cousin, was married to the beautiful Simonetta Cattaneo de Vespucci.

Simonetta was mistress to Giuliano de’ Medici, younger brother of the more famous Lorenzo the Magnificant de’ Medici.

The people called her “La Bella Simonontte” because she was the most beautiful woman in Florence.

The painters loved her
One of them was Piero di Cosimo. He painted her as Cleopatra for the Medici painting collection.

Always the tragic eccentric, Piero has Simonetta cast as a tragic figure with the asp poised to bite her throat.

Another was Sandro Botticelli. Oh, how he must have loved her when he painted her as the venus here:

Just to show how such things become viral and at play through the ages, look here. Eventually Simonetta adorns the package of some software:

As if that was not enough, when the European Union adopted a common currency, Simonetta turns up on the face of the Euro’s ten cent coin.

Now, back to Botticelli. He didn’t paint her just once.

One of the other times was here, after she died.

Simonetta died young at 22, and years later the dying Botticelli confessed his sins to the firebrand preacher monk Savaronella, and requested a burial in a grave at her feet. Sandro and Simonetta both lie in the Church of Ognissanti.

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6 responses to “More Renaissance Trivia: Venus Vespucci

  1. Love this! Shared it on my FaceBook page, and posted it on the film maker Amos Poe’s page as well. His latest is a cinematic interpretation of Dante’s Commedia Divina. Grazie mille!

  2. You can read the true story of her relationship with Giuliano in Katherine McGowan’s novel The Poet Prince.

  3. Thats some scholarly article

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