A five-century-old love story

Standard
Strangely, the name ‘Botticelli’ had been echoing in my mind relentlessly since a few weeks. There were other painters like him, too who lived in the exact age as he did like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Yet, I keep thinking of this guy, just because I found his love-story unique. There are many theories about the identity of the beautiful lady in all of his paintings… and the most legit-seeming and romantic answer seems to be… Simonetta Vespucci, ‘The Beauty Queen’ of her age in Florence. She is rumoured to be unrivalled in terms of beauty, but the poor woman died at an early age – at about 22 years old. Sad, isn’t it?

The Birth of Venus – Sandro Botticelli: Wikimedia Commons

Unearthing a five-century-old love story seems exciting enough, and so I see that people want to believe that it’s Simonetta who was in his paintings. Botticelli had also willed himself to be buried along with her upon death – which is evidence enough for many historians that he was in love. This passionate story is something that I could not find in Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s lives – they’re rumoured to be homosexuals, which is even proved in the case of the latter from his own poems – but the duo were better researchers and liked to exhume corpses and stuff to study the human anatomy in detail.

Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci – painted by Botticelli
-Taken from the Wikimedia Commons-

But Botticelli? He looks more like a man of love, to me… he looks like he lived for Simonetta, for, he had never painted any other woman after he had laid his eyes on her. Even after her death, she is seen in numerous paintings of his. She died in 1476, and yet, Botticelli’s works that came much, much later contained her portraits only, when it came to painting a woman. Many historians call it the face of a nymph which Botticelli might have used, but there’s no proof for anything, is there? Sure, Michelangelo seemed to have some woman as his ‘friend’ later in his life who meant a great deal to him, but it didn’t look like they really had an affair or something, though Michelangelo is said to have regretted not kissing her on her face. And Leonardo… man, I wish I could just listen to his brilliant theories and lectures – research was his only wife, and that is pretty much obvious to all of us.

Now, one thing that keeps me confused is the question ‘how did all the men of Florence try to get to her when Simonetta was married?’ ‘Was Marco, her rightful husband, really weak?’ And there seems to be no good answers for questions like these… and is left to speculation by the addled minds of the masses. If Marco was really a dedicated husband, he would have never allowed the ‘great fighting tournament whose winner would get Simonetta’ from happening. After all, she was his wife, was she not?

Yet, the ruling Medici brothers seemed to approach her…

Yet, the youngest Medici won her by winning the jousting tournament…

No one knows what happened after that. This is when Botticelli comes to my mind. He is never mentioned at all at this point, because, let’s face it: a painter, however romantic he wanted to be, could not afford to fight powerful men. He could only paint a portrait of her and stand undetected in a corner of the crowd.

I wonder what he would have felt when the lady of his dreams was ‘won’ by someone else… by someone he knew and respected. Would he have not shown any feelings at all? Alas, news of Botticelli’s every reaction cannot survive the ages, and here I am, thinking of what poor Botticelli would have done that very day.

 This site discusses about Botticelli’s legendary love story, which could be true, and which was an inspiration or this blog post. Of course, men all over Florence would have given a similar reaction, and I’m probably being apathetic towards them right now, but I don’t know them well enough to think from their perspective. I can only empathize with Botticelli, because, let’s face it: he’s famous, and I can know only about him. Yet… the fact that he declared to be buried along with her seems to be telling something about his unending love even decades after the Beauty Queen of Florence passed away…

Alessandro Filipepi. Sandro Botticelli. A name so fine. A name of love. A name that bore the title ‘very fine painter of the Italian Renaissance era’ along with two of his peers, Michelangelo and Leonardo.

Yet… he’s different.

 And love made all the difference.

Advertisements

Time machine? Yes, please!

Standard

The Daily Post asked me: Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?

Oh, WordPress DailyPost dearest! How can I thank you enough? You keep on encouraging me to go to my fantasy world whenever I write a blogpost for postaday.

I would certainly choose the one that takes me to the past.

Why?

Because the history of every single region on earth is worth reliving; for instance, I would like to travel back to the 1st century AD of the Roman Empire and see what it is like – how the elite Romans lived, how the valiant warriors braved the battles, how the women waited patiently for their husbands to return home, how the legions functioned, how they fought against the invaders, how the gladiators and gladiatrices performed at the arenas, how the people celebrated their festivals, how wars were fought, and of course, about love in the ancient days – so pure, so chaste.

Then, I would like to go to South Korea. I have watched a few Korean serials; enough to provoke me to make up my mind to visit Seoul someday. I believe the place has a rich history, too, just like the others – I’d like to experience the land of Goryeo (that was what the combined nations of South and North Korea were called in the ancient days) and experience the layered dresses, fancy hats and the women with heads down. I love the way the Koreans bow their heads as a gesture of respect. It’s just… something that never fails to fascinate me.

And then I would want to visit Roman Britain and see how the British tribes survived the domination of the Romans – and how they got influenced by the Anglo-Saxons and the other tribes who conquered Britain later.

I would also like to travel in the naval fleet of the Roman Empire and experience piracy (as odd as it sounds, I do want to see how people can get past me when I wield a sharp sword) and see what happens when one among the two opposing naval fleets made a Greek fire in the middle of the ocean. This does seem intriguing. I would like to see the flames dance over water.

And I would like to see the way everyone rushed to Australia – the gold rush as they called it – and suppress the aborigines of the place.

I would like to travel along with Marco Polo and discover new sea routes. Ah, the salty air of the seas… Marco Polo would have certainly become my bestie.

And yes, I very much want to befriend Leonardo DaVinci and inherit his mystic brain. Oh, how I would’ve loved every theory he comes up with.

I would like to see how exactly Columbus ‘discovered’ America when there were natives already. I would like to see how the natives reacted to the highly civilized British people.

And man, do I wish to see how civilized the cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro were!

Why, I’d even go back to the Stone Age to see how the Early Man learnt to rub a stone with another to kindle fire. Ooh… and the discovery of the wheels – I would be the happiest girl in the whole world after the discovery of fire – finally I could try my hand in making shadows while the tribes light bonfires.

And I would want to go see how Emperor Vespasian built the Colosseum and how who-knows-who built the Eiffel tower. Not to forget the Taj Mahal – people say Shah Jahan cut off the limbs of the people who constructed it, in order to prevent such a magnificent structure from being rebuilt.

I would like to see how the Titan (or was it Titanic?) sunk into the water – a magnificent spectacle it would be – even if I were to die the next instant. While watching the movie, I wanted nothing but to be a member of the crew right then – people hustling and bustling in the ship, a boy you could contentedly fall in love with (though in this case, I would not have preferred Jack), standing at the bow of the massive vessel and stretching my hands and feeling like I’m flying, like I’m the queen of the ocean, someone who’d stand behind me and stretch their hands too… and the breeze… oh, the chilly breeze…

The sharks swarming underwater…

The deep blue sky above…

If only.