Leonardo da Vinci's Masterpiece
Krakow is one of just six places in the world that can
boast a painting by Leonardo da Vinci (born 1452, died 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.
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
That stunning picture is 40.3 cm wide and 54.8 cm high, oil
on walnut board. Unfortunately, the original background has
been overlaid probably in the 17th century.
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 Museum in the
years 2010 through 2019 the masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci,
Lady with an Ermine, has been temporarily exhibited at the
in Krakow since May 19th, 2017. The
picture is placed in an upstairs room of the museum's main
hall (Gmach Glowny) at 1, 3 Maja street. Initially free of
charge till June 22nd, 2017 the regular ticket costs 10
zloty (PLN) afterwards. Opening hours
are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10
a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Window of awe
See the big picture
The Princes Czartoryski Museum in Krakow
Poland's prime tourist attraction and a must in Central
Europe boasts numerous world-class monuments, charming vistas,
delightful atmosphere, and the best restaurants.
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