Since the vision of Beatrice by Dante, a pretty woman who dies prematurely is a symbol of perfection because her beauty is inaccessible and unalterable. At the court of the Medici, Simonetta got such a posthumous role : she died in 1476 at 22 and her memory continued to enchant the artists.
The perfect face of the young woman with long blond hair is thoughtful or sad. When Botticelli uses that figure on a nude such as The Birth of Venus around 1485, there is no vulgarity : her modest attitude is inspired by the ancient sculpture and by its Florentine reinterpretation.
The same face also personalizes Mary as in the Madonna of the Pomegranate, a 143 cm tondo in tempera on panel painted circa 1487. The Virgin and Child are surrounded by angels but mystical symbols are virtually nonexistent in this work where the characters are dressed in the fashion of the court of Florence.
Appreciated in Florence until the cultural revolution of Savonarola, Sandro's religious works are copied for use of private devotion on rectangular panels by the master assisted by his workshop. A Madonna of the Pomegranate enhanced with some gold on arched panel 90 x 59 cm is estimated € 500K for sale on November 29 by Audap et Mirabaud in Paris, Hôtel Drouot, lot 31.
The attitudes of the Madonna and Child are very similar to the tondo model. The naked child looks up in communion with the sad thoughts of his mother preoccupied by the presentiment of the Passion symbolized by the red fruit. The other characters have disappeared, replaced by a pleasant landscape through a window.
SOLD for € 500K before fees