Even those who subscribe to tech luminary Marc Benioff's view that “unicorn mania.. [is] dangerous for our Silicon Valley economy," a warning he issued in a recent interview, are sure to marvel at a brand new and totally invaluable local specimen — From 1505-6.
The innovative work Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn by the famous painter Raphael depicts an angelic investor-type and her unique prize, which at the time would have been a typical symbol of chastity and modesty, rather than, you know, ebullient and speculative private investment.
The exhibition “Sublime Beauty,” at the Legion of Honor opened this past Saturday and, in a bold portfolio move, is just a single painting "grandly presented in its own ample room" in the words of the Chronicle.
A symbol of a renaissance that will resonate with locals who liken San Francisco to Florence during that period, Raphael's work is more than two feet in height and has gained flattering comparisons to Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa."
Dr. Esther Bell, curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, says that "'Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn' is a stunning masterpiece of the Italian High Renaissance." She added that its arrival was greeted "with new scholarship as well as a celebration fitting for the blond beauty and her mysterious unicorn."
Interestingly, scholars have uncovered that the unicorn may have originally been painted as a puppy — which, okay, but good pivot Raphael, because the puppy art market has always been a little crowded.