Leonardo Collection 
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Leonardo Collection Set I

 2 of 20 Paintings 

"
Portrait of Ginevra Benci "

The most dazzlingly poetic pictures ever created -  Leonardo's three great portraits of women all have a secret wistfulness. This quality is at its most confrontational in Ginevra de' Benci's (Set I, Code: LEO004) self-absorption. 

Ginevra de' Benci shows that haunting, almost unearthly beauty peculiar to Leonardo.  (Unfortunately Leonardo did cut about 1/3 size of this painting.)

The beautiful curls of her hair are set against her pale flesh, the surface of the paint was smoothed by the artist's own hands. 

The young woman looks past us with a wonderful luminous sulkiness. Her eyes, sometimes nearly to make eye contact with you, but move away when you try to convince it, sometines it seem to narrow as she endures the painter. Her lips are set in an unforgiving sensitive line, her proud and perfect head and neck, her gleaming forehead (one of the most gifted intellectuals of her time). The thin veil of her upper bodice and the delicate flushing of her throat. All showing the perfection of form.

The desolate waters, the mists, the dark trees, the reflected gleams of still waves, all these surround and illuminate the sitter. 

She is totally flesh and totally impermeable.  What she is truly like she conceals; what Leonardo reveals to us is precisely this concealment, a self-absorption that spares no outward glance.

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