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Lady with an Ermine, Leonardo's Masterpiece in Krakow

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Lady with an Ermine painted by Leonardo da Vinci

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.

 

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. 

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. 

 

Note: 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 National Museum 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.  


Other Krakow Curios:
World's greatest medieval sculpture
Window of awe
Subterranean wonder world
Renaissance pearl
Giant bell
Miraculous images
8-foot golden crown
Signal trump
Nativity beauties
Krakow mummies
Ice-age rhino
Slavic idol 
'Kmita's Chasuble'

 

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Krakow Marvels

The Princes Czartoryski Museum in Krakow


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