Simonetta Cattaneo de Candia Vespucci (1453 – 26 April 1476)
The face of the Italian Renaissance
La bella Simonetta
looking to the distant
not at me
at the London National Gallery.
Born in that stern Ligurian region
up above the seacoast
where mighty Neptune beats against the rocks
there like Venus, born among the waves.
A noble beauty wanted by all
Giuliano di Medici carried his banner
at la giostra adorned with her likeness;
Helmeted Pallas Athena “La Sans Pareille”.
Loved from afar by a poor Sandro
who painted her banner and her face
a portrait of a woman
at the workshop.
And there I stared as did all others
enchanted by her beauty,
around her neck the crest of Nero
her hair in curls draped over her perfection
imagining besotted Sandro’s brush
caressing a surface; painting one he loved
but could not have
wondering if he ever dreamed
I would see her face in London
in Berlin and I would
think of him, recalling perhaps
his anguish and his sorrow
for she would pass at twenty two
and he would live for many years
requesting only to be buried
where he now lays
at the feet of his Venus.