There is a link between Amerigo Vespucci (the city of Florence and the New World celebrating 500 years since the death this year) and the symbol of the Renaissance masterpiece, Botticelli’s Venus, housed in the Uffizi, Florence, Italy.
The “connection” is Simonetta Cattaneo de Candia (1453-26 April 1476), nicknamed “la bella Simonetta” (the beautiful Simonetta). She was an Italian Renaissance noblewoman from Genoa and the wife of Marco Vespucci of Florence. She was renowned for being the greatest beauty of her age.
Simonetta and Marco were married in Florence. She was instantly popular at the Florentine court. Through the Vespucci family she was discovered by Sandro Botticelli and other prominent painters upon arriving in Florence. Simonetta Vespucci died 27 April 1476, probably from pulmonary tuberculosis. She was only 22, but her fame and her portraits will be immortalized forever.
In the fact, even if Botticelli finished painting The Birth of Venus in 1485, nine years later, some have claimed that Venus, in this painting, closely resembles Simonetta. Other art critics suggest that Botticelli also had fallen in love with her. Maybe, for this reason he requested to be buried in church of the Vespucci family, Ognissanti, in Florence.
The issue is disputed. The claim that Venus, in Botticelli’s painting, closely resembles Simonetta, is dismissed as “romantic nonsense” by other art critics. A thing can not be denied: Simonetta was painted by many artists of his age. Botticelli may have done the same. In the year dedicated to Amerigo Vespucci it is not excluded new evidence to verify these facts.