(b. 1839, Firenze, d. 1908, Firenze)
Simone Memmi Drawing Laura's Portrait for Petrarch1863
Oil on canvas, 118 x 143 cm
Galleria dell'Arte Moderna, Palazzo Pitti, Florence
A genre painter specialising in work of edifying moralism, Saltini enjoyed commercial success with quiet, domestic scenes characterized by effects of light and shadow. In this imaginary historical event, the painter evokes the atmosphere of fourteenth-century Italy. The great poet Petrarch, shown seated in the foreground in a red garb, presumably commissioned the artist Simone Memmi to draw a portrait of the poet's beloved Laura, whose identity - if she ever actually existed - has never been established, but who served as his muse in many of his most beautiful love poems.