Leonardos Krakow Lady
Lady with an Ermine, Leonardo's Masterpiece is one of just six places in the world that can boast a painting by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), the old masters’ old master.
And there are known only three his female portraits of which Krakow’s Lady with an Ermine is arguably the most beautiful. It’s also in the best shape after the 500-plus years that elapsed. Leonardo’s masterpiece in The Czartoryskich Museum at 19 Sw. Jana street depicts a delightful teenage beauty, most probably Cecilia Gallerani who was the mistress of Milan’s ruler Lodovico Sforza il Moro, the artist’s patron. Most likely Leonardo da Vinci painted her in his early thirties, between 1482 and 1485 – i.e. some 20 years before the Paris' Louvre’s famed Mona Lisa – and for the first time he showed the sitter in the way that would soon become the standard. Art historians maintain it’s the world’s first modern-age portrait ever painted.
Lady with an Ermine
That stunning picture is 40 cm wide and 55 cm high, oil on walnut board. Unfortunately, the original background has been overlaid probably in the 17th c.
The portrait of the Lady with an Ermine was bought by Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski in Italy and incorporated into The Czartoryskis’ family collections in 1800.
Due to the renovation of the Princes Czartoryski Musem in the years 2010 and 2011 the masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, Lady with an Ermine, tours museums abroad. The picture is expected back in Krakow in February 2012 and there are plans to exhibit it temporarily in the branch of the National Museum in Krakow situated in the Bishop Ciolek Palace at 17 Kanonicza street.
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