Selvaggia Sassetti (born 1470)

Davide Ghirlandaio (David Bigordi) Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 602

The sitter of this striking portrait has been identified as the fifth daughter of the banker Francesco Sassetti and his wife (they had seven daughters in all). The occasion may have been her marriage to Simone d’Amerigo Carnesecchi in 1488. Her eye-catching necklace is made of richly symbolic materials that communicate her merits as a wife according to contemporary ideals, with pearls indicating her purity and a strand of corals representing health. The background was originally blue, which darkened as the azurite pigment aged. The fine frame is of the sixteenth century.

Selvaggia Sassetti (born 1470), Davide Ghirlandaio (David Bigordi) (Italian, Florence 1452–1525 Florence), Tempera on wood

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