2 More

Bella Simonetta

Bella Simonetta
inscribed '61-40' (upper left) and further signed, inscribed and dated 'Copie de la Simonetta/ par/ Levy Dhurmer/ Florence 1896' (on the backing board)
pencil and pastel on blue green paper
25 1⁄8 x 17 1⁄8 in. (63.9 x 43.4 cm.)
Anonymous sale; Millon & Associés, Paris, 15 May 2020, lot 67.
Private Collection, France, from whom purchased by the present owner.
G. Soulier, 'Les artistes de l'âme' in L'Art et la vie, May 1896, p. 121.

Brought to you by

Alastair Plumb
Alastair Plumb Specialist, Head of Sale, European Art

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

After the painting Bella Simonetta by Sandro Botticelli in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence.

Traditionally the sitter has been identified as Simonetta Cattaneo (1453-1476), the Genoese noblewoman who married the Florentine Marco Vespucci in 1469 and was loved by Giuliano de’Doctors. It is a work of refinement, exulting beauty and modesty in equal measure.

Gustave Soulier observes that it was only once, in Italy, that Lévy-Dhurmer chose to study an old master in detail, returning with this admirable reproduction of Bella Simonetta 'as a way for him to get to know Botticelli better (op. cit., p. 121).

Lévy-Dhurmer's time in Italy is seen as one of the determining influences on his development as an artist. It is around this time that he was exposed to masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. His interest in Symbolism as a movement, his dedication to his career as an artist and his move towards pastels as his favoured medium were all fostered during this time period.

Bella Simonetta appears to influence Lévy-Dhurmer’s œurve. This is most apparent in his re-interpretation of Bella Simonetta in his 1896 work La Femme à la médaille (pastel on paper, Musée d'Orsay). The Musée d'Orsay picture repeats a similar profile composition for the portrait, but brings a renewed vitality to the subject by focusing on medallion around the sitter’s neck.

We are grateful to Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond for his assistance in cataloguing the present lot. A certificate from Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond dated 10 November 2023 accompanies this lot.

More from British and European Art

View All
View All