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Da Vinci on Leave: Krakow Misses ‘Lady with an Ermine’
After a long absence in Krakow, its famous ‘Lady with an Ermine’, one of the world’s finest portraits by Leonardo da Vinci, returned to the city on April 10th. Because the Princes Czartoryski Museum has closed for a three-year renovation probably till early 2015, the painting will be shown elsewhere in the meantime.
‘Lady with an Ermine’ has been put on show again on May 12, 2012 at the Wawel Royal Castle. Da Vinci's masterpiece is exhibited in one of the Renaissance rooms on the second floor of the castle's Western wing. The famous picture used to be displayed in the Wawel Castle in the 1950s.
In October 2009 ‘Lady with an Ermine’, Poland’s most valued work of art, left its home in Princes Czartoryski Museum for Budapest to grace there the exhibition ‘From Botticelli to Titian’. Next it went on show at an exhibition in the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Subsequently it was incorporated into temporary exhibitions in Madrid (May through July 2011), then Berlin (August through October), and lastly served as the centerpiece of the show of da Vinci's works in London's National Gallery from November 2011 through January 2012.
It has been announced that after her homecoming ‘Lady with an Ermine’ won't leave Krakow for ten years or longer. Specialists warn that every transfer of a 500-year-old painting carries the risk of harm. No wonder art experts and the media, as well general public in Krakow, were aghast at the decision to dispatch ‘Lady with an Ermine’ to Budapest in the first place. The deal with Hungarians had been arranged by the then board of the Princes Czartoryski Foundation which admitted that its intention was to earn as much as possible on displaying abroad the most precious treasure in their custody.
Previously da Vinci’s only work in Poland left Krakow in 2002 to be the centerpiece of exhibitions in Japan and next in the USA.
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