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How did the fate of the beauties from which the famous portraits were painted

There is an opinion, absolutely not supported by statistics, about the unlucky fate of people posing for famous painting masterpieces. Fortunately, most often this is completely wrong, but sometimes life does present unexpected and sad surprises. In such cases, portraits become a memory that preserves the female beauty over the centuries, and a reminder of how fragile a person’s life is.

This incomparable woman, considered the first beauty of Florence, earned the nickname “beautiful” and “incomparable” during her lifetime. She served as a model for several great artists of the time. At 16, having become famous for her beauty, she married Marco Vespucci and thus became a relative of the famous navigator Amerigo Vespucci. This is how the poet Poliziano describes the young woman:

“Among other exceptional gifts of nature, she possessed such a sweet and attractive manner of communication that everyone who made close acquaintance with her (…) felt like an object of her affection. There was not a single woman who envied her, and this seemed an unusual thing: so many men loved her without excitement and jealousy. ”

Sandro Botticelli, after meeting with this woman, it was her features that endowed all of his Venus and Madonnas. At 23, Simonetta died of consumption. This death hit the whole city. Botticelli bequeathed to bury himself next to an incomparable model. For the rest of his life, he painted it from memory.

The debate still does not cease whether this woman is really depicted in all the portraits attributed to her. The fact is that during her life, apparently, she did not pose for any of the painters, and many paintings (including The Birth of Venus) were painted after her death.

This portrait, painted in 1797 by Borovikov, is today one of the most famous masterpieces of the Tretyakov Gallery. On it, the artist captured Maria Ivanovna Lopukhina – a representative of the count family Tolstoy, sister of the famous adventurer Fedor Ivanovich Tolstoy (American) and cousin of the even more famous Count Leo Tolstoy. In the picture, the young woman is only 18 years old. This portrait was commissioned by her husband, Stepan Lopukhin, shortly after the wedding. Maria Lopukhina did not live very long – at the age of 24 she died of consumption. One hundred years later, Yakov Petrovich Polonsky wrote a sad and sublime poem dedicated to this portrait:

She is long gone, and there are no longer those eyes
And that smile is not that silently expressed
Suffering is a shadow of love and thoughts a shadow of sadness
But Borovikovsky saved her beauty.
So part of her soul didn’t fly away from us,
And there will be this look and this beauty of the body
To attract indifferent offspring to her,
Teaching him to love, suffer, forgive, be silent.

This young charming woman looks at us from many paintings by Rubens. For 9 happy years, she was the wife and muse of the great artist. During this time he painted many of her portraits. Even after the death of his beloved, Rembrandt continued to write a cute image. In 1660, for example, he created another Flora-Saskia.

Saskia gave birth to Rembrandt four children, of whom only one son survived to adulthood. She most likely died of tuberculosis at the age of 29. Since the wife was the daughter of the burgomaster, she brought the artist a rich dowry. After her death, an unsuccessfully executed will caused the widower great problems. Saskia probably could not have imagined that her husband, a famous artist, would someday need money, so she left all the money to her son Titus. Rambrandt was remarried there, as a result of which he was never able to legitimize relations with his second wife.

This work is considered a manifesto of Somov aesthetics of the past beautiful XVIII century. The lady in blue is called a real Turgenev girl, investing in this concept a feeling of a finely sensitive and exalted nature and tremendous moral strength. The woman posing for the portrait was probably almost the artist’s only romantic affection. Elizaveta Martynova studied with the Somov at the Imperial Academy of Arts and also dreamed of becoming an artist. She entered the first year as soon as women were admitted to this educational institution.

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