Romance, Masterpieces, and…Civil Engineering?

Sometime around 1470 AD, Italy’s most celebrated beauty, Simonetta Vespucci, entered into the socio-political epicenter of the Renaissance, and won the adoration of the people of Florence.  One of her most famous admirers, Sandro Botticelli, the celebrated early Renaissance Italian painter, whose art was patronized by the ruling Medici, reportedly attempted to immortalize her beauty on canvas in many of his works.

Now through April 5th, Simonetta’s comely likeness can be witnessed up close and in person at a rare exhibition of Botticelli’s paintings on display at the Muscarelle Museum of Art at College of William in Williamsburg.  HG Design Studio is honored to be a part of the A/E team that was recently awarded the design of a new building planned by the university to house the Muscarelle Museum.  HG will be integrating civil engineering and landscape architecture for the project, and feels it is important to take into account the quality of hosted exhibitions, including the 16 paintings presently on display, when considering the site design.

Scholars of the Renaissance and Botticelli point to Simonetta’s countenance as the female aesthetic ideal of the era…pale skin, high forehead, delicate features, and wavy strawberry blond hair.  Many of the women depicted in Botticelli’s illusionist paintings have these characteristics, and women of the day were known to go to extremes to replicate her attributes, even plucking hair from their foreheads to expand their brow.  For Botticelli, Simonetta’s untimely death at 23 years of age did not curb his desire to paint her resemblance, nor did his adoration wane over time.  He never married, and thirty years later at his request, was buried at the foot Ms. Vespucci’s grave, at Church of Ognissanti in Florence.

For ticket information, please contact 757-221-2700 or visit