The art collections at the Palace of the Princes Czartoryski Museum include the world-famous portrait of "Lady with an Ermine" by Leonardo da Vinci, arguably the most valuable work of art present in Krakow.
The exhibition includes also Rembrandt van Rijn's Landscape with the Good Samaritan, sculptures, crafts, military or applied arts. It is also an immense collection of souvenirs presenting Poland's history.
A unique walk through the 21 halls of the Princes Czartoryski Museum begins at the Podest, which displays two monumental genre canvas paintings by Jan Piotr Norblin. Further on, there are rooms dedicated to the Czartoryski family, which will take visitors to the rooms showing the history of Poland: from the time of the Jagiellonians to the end of the First Polish Republic. On the first floor of the Museum, viewers will also see the most beautiful works of religious art. The rooms further on will take visitors to a completely different scenery - the world of Far Eastern art.
Visiting the second floor begins with the Antique Salon, and then moves on to the room dedicated to Renaissance art. From there, you can go to the room where Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine is displayed. The following rooms will take viewers on a journey through the art of the Middle Ages, the art of 15th-17th century Northern Europe - up to Rembrandt's time. The second floor in the Polish Room shows mementoes, mainly from the Temple of the Sibyl in Puławy, and in the outbuilding rooms - library collections and a set of graphics and drawings.
The Princes Czartoryski Museum is one of the six locations worldwide where it is possible to admire the paintings by da Vinci, while "Lady with an Ermine" represents one of the four rare examples of female portraits painted by the master's hand, along with "La Gioconda " or "Ginevra de Benci".
"Lady with an Ermine" is an oil work created on a walnut wooden panel, depicting 16-year-old Cecilia Gallerani
– a mistress of the mighty Duke of Milan Ludovico Sforza
, the commissioner of the masterpiece. The three-quarter profile of the face of Gallerani, a member of a non-aristocratic family who bore a child to the Duke the same year he got married, is a greatly-composed portrait; the play of lights shows a hint of a smile on the face of a young lady holding an ermine, the armorial animal of her beloved aristocrat
. In the 1800, the portrait was bought by a Polish-born prince Czartoryski as a gift to his mother. After having been re-captured from the Nazis, it would be displayed at the Krakow-based Czartoryski Museum until it was re-located to royal Wawel. If you are interested in discovering the remaining mysteries associated with the painting, contact us with no hesitation – we will surely guide you through what the experts on Leonardo da Vinci have discovered.
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