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The Lady with an Ermine

Lady with an ermine, Leonardo da Vinci, Krakow, Poland
Lady with an Ermine, Leonardo da Vinci, ca 1490, oil on wood panel
Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski bought the Lady with an Ermine painting while traveling in Italy in 1798. This is a portrait of Cecilia Gallerani who is said to be one of the mistresses of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan. The Duke was awarded the Order of the Ermine by the King of Naples and was known as l’Ermenillo.

Landscape with the Good Samaritan, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1638

Study of a horse from the Battle of Grunwald painting, Jan Matejko, 1876
Note: The plaque at the top of this vignette spells the name of Adam Kazimierz. He was the husband of Princess Izabela who is the founder of the museum. The portrait on the left is that of Prince Władisław Czartoryski, the grandson of Princess Izabela, to whom Matejko gifted the Study of a horse. The portrait is by Teodor Axentowicz, 1892-1893.

St. Catherine of Alexandria (fragment from a triptych), 
Hans Seuss von Kulmbach, ca 1511

The Annunciation, Master Jerzy, 1517

Coronation polyptych, attributed to Jacobello di Bonomo (1370-90)

A tent made of priceless carpets 

Princess Izabela Czartoryska née Fleming, Kazimierz Wojniakowski, 1796
Princess Izabela established the museum in 1796 at her palace in Puławy. After the November Uprising in 1830, her son, Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, brought objects from the collection to Paris where it was kept at the Hotel Lambert, a property belonging to the Prince. The collection was brought back to Poland in 1878 by Adam’s son, Prince Władisław Czartoryski. The City of Krakow offered the Arsenal to house the Czartoryski collection. This is the current location of the museum. 

The Ministry of Culture of the Polish government paid the family $105 million in 2017 for the collection including the right to claim the 800 artworks/historical documents/antiquities (including a painting by Rafael) which were looted by the Nazis and are still missing. This valuable collection is worth 3 billion euros today.

Museum courtyard
I highly recommend visiting this museum not only for the masterpieces of Da Vinci and Rembrandt but also for the historical background of the Czartoryski family and their art collection. There’s a café in the courtyard where you can enjoy this beautiful building. For more information about the Princes Czartoryski Museum:
Free admission to the museum on Tuesdays. Discounted admission fee for seniors and students.

*****

Images by TravelswihCharie


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