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the same name, Ginevra di Bartolommeo di Giovanni d'Amerigo Benci, who was two years old in 1480, and Ginevra di Donato d'Amerigo Benci, who was three years old at the same period.
Rosini, the historian of Italian painting, quoted, in support of Vasari, a portrait in his own possession which he asserted to be Leonardo's original portrait. But this very mediocre work, which was bequeathed to the National Museum at Florence by Signor L. Carrand, shows no traces of Leonardo's hand.
These portraits lead me, by a natural transition, to consider
Leonardo's ideal of female beauty, and the place occupied by woman in his life and work. I see a long and fascinating array, from the Three Dancing Girls, or Bacchantes, one of the young master's earliest drawings (p. 36), down to La Gioconda.
There is no recognised and authentic female portrait executed by Leonardo in his youth. All we have are a few drawings, and two or three sacred pictures (the authenticity of only one of which the
Virgin of the Rocks, is above discussion), whereby we may guess at the type which then hovered before the eyes of the young beginner.
Something vague, indeed, there is about these faces. We should find it hard to discover any of what I will call a well-assimilated and well-matured type. Both the form of the faces and their expressions are still somewhat uncertain. The artist's hand had not as yet the full command of his instruments.
If the drawing in the Uffizi Gallery, representing a young woman with bent head, in profile (see our pl. iii.), and the Annunciation in the Louvre, with which the said drawing is closely connected, are really Leonardo's work, we see in them some of the master's