Poland’s most valuable work of art, Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady With an Ermine, is finally on public display again.
The painting has found a temporary home at Wawel Royal Castle, after going on a tour of European capitals and undergoing intensive analysis by art experts.
The ‘Lady,’ as it is known locally, is owned by the Czartoryski family, one of Poland’s few remaining ‘aristocratic’ bloodlines. However, the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow – which once housed the painting – is undergoing extensive and time-consuming restoration work. It is not known how long it will take to complete the work, and the Lady will stay at Wawel for the foreseeable future.
The painting was created in the late 15th century, while da Vinci was working for the Duke of Milan. The woman in the picture is said to be Cecilia Gallerani, the Duke’s mistress. Art experts have ensured it is displayed in optimal conditions to ensure its preservation, in a small room at Wawel with a constant fixed temperature of 18 degrees, and strict controls on lighting and humidity.
Up to 20 people can view the picture at a time. Tickets cost 10zł (8zł concessions). It is advisable to book in advance, as the popularity of the painting means that queues are likely.