Finding Simonetta at The Städel

The last time I tried to ‘meet’ Simonetta was at Uffizi Museum in Florence last year, but I scrapped the idea because the queue was too long. When I learned that queuing for the ticket is one thing, queuing to get inside is another, I knew I wasn’t meant to meet her. I should’ve bought the ticket online but I was not sure of the date to visit.

You see, I wanted to see her in some of Botticelli’s original paintings, that includes The Birth of Venus and La Primavera (also known as Allegory of Spring). She was thought to be his muse.

VenusThe Birth of Venus.

primaveraLa Primavera.

In The Birth of Venus, Venus is the central figure standing on a shell blown ashore by the wind gods Zephyrus and Aura. The scene makes reference to the birth of the goddess as told in Hesiod and Homer.

In La Primavera, Venus is seen again, well-dressed, in a scene that draws inspiration from Ovid’s tale of the arrival of spring. Venus seems to capture our attention with her gaze.

Whose lovely face inspired this image of Venus? Could they have been inspired by real women? Or by the same woman?

Many said that the Venus character was based on a model named Simonetta, who was 16 and married. She modelled not only for Botticelli’s paintings but for other well-known painters as well (Piero di Cosimo was one).

Then, rumour has it that Botticelli fell in love with Simonetta, but he kept it to himself. He celebrated his love for her by painting her many times over on most of his paintings.

simonettasSome of Botticelli’s renditions of Simonetta.

He continued to paint her even after she died at the age of 22. The Birth of Venus was actually completed nine years after her death. That seems to confirm that Botticelli was in love with her and that he was still able to still capture her beauty even by painting her from memory.

Anyway, when I learned that Botticelli’s paintings, including Idealised Portrait of A Lady (Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci As Nymph, ca. 1475), were on display at Städel Museum as Highlight Collection, I was excited.

I visited Städel Museum with my friend, Daiana, on the very first day I reached Frankfurt.


Seeing Simonetta up-close on canvas was too personal. I was able to admire her beauty, Botticelli’s stroke and the legends that evolved around her. My mind wandered through all the stories that I read about her and Botticelli. I like to believe that the love story between them was real just like how the painting itself looks real.

Finding Simonetta at the Städel was one of the best things that happened to me. I wont be concluding the ‘meeting’ with her as I have yet to find her (in future travels) in other galleries around the world.

Till we meet again, Simonetta.

About Städel Museum
Städel Museum houses the world’s most important art collection. It encompass 3,000 paintings, 600 sculptures, more than 10,000 drawings and prints and 1,600 photographs. The collections are divided into few categories; Old Master Painting 1300 – 1800, Modern Art 1800 – 1945, Contemporary 1945 – The Present and Department of Prints And Drawings.

The Old Master Painting collection presents original paintings by Jan van Eyck, Lochner, Mantegna, Botticelli, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Poussin, Dürer and many more. This collection is my favourite as I really admire the old master painters.

As for the Modern Art collection, it presents paintings by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Marc, Kirchner, Beckmann and many more from the era of Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism and Expressionism.

Schaumainkai 63
60596 Frankfurt am Main

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      1. Tutup mata sebelah tgk gambar paling atas 😉 pernah dpt poskad showing Simonetta tapi nasib baik bahagian kepala je.. hehe..

  1. Simonetta. Thsi is the first time i heard about her and Botticelli. Amazing how he can still remember her through his memory to produce his masterpieces. I guess it is true that “falling in love with someone, let it go, if it comes back, it is yours, if it doesnt, it never was”.

    1. I believe in that quote too.. you should show your love through action and not just words or hidden deep in your heart ^.^

    1. tgk lukisan, mmg cantik orgnya 🙂 masa dpt poskad Simonetta, rasa teruja mengenali Botticelli.. walaupun masa tu, tak tau pun pasal their love story..

        1. itulah.. suka bila dpt art postcard that I can appreciate the beauty of it.. once in a blue moon dpt abstract one, pening nak interpret >.<

  2. Years ago, people capture beauty thru artist/ painters talent. Now we have camera.
    I wish i day i have enough fund to pay a good artist to paint my portrait and capture my beauty in the painting. Hihihi.

    1. amboi, kemain lg ye 😛 minta tlg kak Em jela.. walaupun kak Em tak minat lukis portrait, tapi mana tau utk jane blh jadi special exception.. eceh.. favourite follower la katakan.. hihi..

        1. oh, yela.. kak Em dah international skrg kan.. fee mesti kena up 😉 takpe, kumpul duit dulu.. nanti dtg la peluang satu hari nanti..

            1. betul juga tu.. kak Em pun sampai tak cukup tangan nak siapkan projek. kena tunggu giliran la kalau nak tempah dgn kak Em.. takut kak Em stress pula byk benda nak buat..

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