Historical story

The Painter and the Courtesan

“Lady who discovers her breasts” (1570) by the Venetian painter Jacopo Robusti (or Combin) known as Tintoretto. The lady portrayed should be Veronica Franco

Veronica Franco (1546-1591) was the prostitute more famous and influential than Venice sixteenth century.

In fact, this woman who was decidedly free and emancipated at the time, cultured and author of popular poems, was part of the coveted and restricted elite of “honest courtesans” , very different from their lower-ranking colleagues, poor and ready to sell themselves in exchange for a few coins.

Veronica, on the other hand, beautiful and refined, could afford the luxury of choosing her clients, often men who were not only rich but also influential; in 1574, the girl, now famous, was commissioned by the city government to entertain the King of France Henry III , the night after which her rates soared.

On the life and personality of this interesting female character and the meeting with the sovereign of the Alps, I will return later with special posts, here I will limit myself to some information on her outward appearance of her .

What was Veronica Franco like?

What a face and body had the courtesan who made most of the male citizens of the Serenissima lose their heads and more?

To find out we have to look at two works by Jacopo Robusti (or Comin ), known as the Tintoretto , that is Dama che uncovers her breasts (1570, in photo ) and Portrait of a Lady (1574); in fact, the painter was a frequent visitor to Franco's artistic and literary salon and his are the only portraits that, perhaps, immortalize his features.

Yes, because, in truth, some doubts have been raised about the identity of the model, but for most experts it would be the renowned prostitute.

If so, Tintoretto's paintings put us in front of a young woman with a delicate and refined beauty, with diaphanous skin and auburn hair; the pearls that in both portraits of her adorn her neck, they are more inclined towards her thesis in favor of Veronica Franco, since these jewels of her were a distinctive trait and a symbol.