Thursday, February 28, 2013


 The Annunciation of Ginevra de' Benci
Conversations with Leonardo
                    Ginevra de' Benci #51 2012, oil on canvas. Click image to view the exhibition online.
March 2 - April 1, 2013
Reception for the Artist
Saturday, March 2, 2013, 5:00 - 7:30 PM

Artist's talk 6:00 PM
 11640 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 820 9448
Left: Shane Guffogg, Ginevra de’ Benci #10 2011, oil on canvas, 80 x 60 inches
Right: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Ginevra de’ Benci c. 1474, oil on poplar panel, 38.1 x 37 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

On the reverse of the portrait Leonardo painted a symbolic design.


Behind the portrait is a symbolic design referencing Ginevra’s much admired character. The wreath of laurel and palm represents moral and intellectual fortitude. The wreath encircles a sprig of juniper, symbolizing chastity. (The great juniper bush, or ginepro, that dominates the landscape in the portrait itself may well have been a clever play on Ginevra’s name.) Entwined with the wreath and juniper is a ribbon like banner, with a Latin phrase meaning, “Beauty Adorns Virtue". Roughly the lower third of Leonardo’s portrait was damaged sometime prior to 1780 and was removed. In Ginevra de Benci #10 Guffogg approximates the original proportions of Leonardo’s work.  

The Ginevra series, consisting of fifty-two oil paintings, evolved out of Guffogg’s immediately prior At the Still Point series, comprised of forty- one oil paintings (selected examples exhibited at Leslie Sacks Fine Art, January 2010). The combined ninety-three At the Still Point and Ginevra de Benci canvases done over the past four years reflect an extraordinarily intense application of attention, by virtue of which Guffogg has provided a window onto a personal renaissance – one that may have significant universal implications as well. He has returned to the Western canon as such is informed by abstraction, contemporary math and science (string theory), and his own sensibilities, just as the art of the Renaissance was informed by classicism, then contemporary math and science, and the sensibilities of artists such as Leonardo.  

On the occasion of Guffogg’s recent 2012 retrospective at the Villa di Donato, Naples, Italy, organized by the Italian Cultural Organization Art 1307, da Vinci scholar Marco di Mauro wrote the following: “The American artist Shane Guffogg has captured the potential abstraction of the Portrait of Ginevra Benci, making a very personal interpretation of it. The result of his research is manifested in the execution of abstract paintings where the artist’s rendition takes the form of “a composition of lights and shade together, mixed with the different qualities of all his simple and composed colours…” to quote Leonardo and his Treatise on Painting. In the final analysis, Guffogg makes no attempt to imitate a masterpiece by the Renaissance genius, preferring to capture the admirable harmony of forms which, far from expressing aesthetic perfection, harbour a content that is so profound and secret that it can only be partially deciphered.”


Parchin,Stan. Ginevra de' Benci by Leonardo da Vinci. Art Museum Journal. July 10, 2010 (referencing sources below)

Beck, James. Italian Renaissance Painting. Köln: Könemann, 1999, 316-321, 326-328.

Brown, David Alan. Leonardo da Vinci: Origins of a Genius. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998, 101-122.
(Ed.), et al. Virtue and Beauty: Leonardo's "Ginevra de' Benci" and Renaissance Portraits of Women (exh. cat.). Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2001, 11-23, 62-87, 142-153, 162-165.
Clayton, Martin. Leonardo da Vinci: The Divine and the Grotesque (exh. cat.). London: The Royal Collection, 106-108.
Fletcher, Jennifer. "Bernardo Bembo and Leonardo's Portrait of Ginevra de' Benci." The Burlington Magazine 131 (1989), 811-816.
Levenson, Jay A. (ed.), et al. Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration (exh. cat.). Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1991, 270.

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