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Interesting facts about the painting "Lady with an Ermine"

Interesting facts about the painting "Lady with an Ermine"


Famous paintings are almost always covered with a veil of mystery and the "Lady with an Ermine", one of the greatest masterpieces made by Leonardo da Vinci, is no exception.

The painting was made in Milan

"Lady with the Ermine" is an oil painting made on wood during Leonardo da Vinci's stay in Milan, when he was in the service of Ludovico Sforza, also known as "il Moro" (the Moor) and the work dates to 1488-1490.

The "Lady with an Ermine" is the lover of Ludovico il Moro

The name of the young woman portrayed by Leonardo da Vinci in this painting is Cecilia Gallerani, a noblewoman from Milan who was also the lover of Ludovico il Moro. Many historians describe the girl as beautiful and cultured, lover of the Duke of Milan, a woman in love regardless of the fact that Ludovico il Moro was promised husband to Beatrice d'Este. Not only that, it seems that the two lovers also had a son whom Ludovico loved unconditionally, even if in the meantime he had married Beatrice d'Este. Moreover, it seems that the Duke of Milan always kept Cecilia around him and that he gave her Palazzo Carmagnola, where she created one of the very first literary circles. Finally, it seems that Ludovico also found a husband worthy of Cecilia, that is, he had her married to Ludovico Carminati Brambilla.

Leonardo uses an innovative technique for the time

In this painting, Leonardo da Vinci uses a completely new technique for that era for portraying the girl. In fact, both Cecilia and the ermine, despite having a three-quarter position, have their heads turned slightly to the left as if they were looking at someone entering the door. In this way Leonardo leaves room for psychological introspection, moreover the woman has an enigmatic smile, details that make this painting similar to the Mona Lisa.

The painting shows the Lombard fashion of the time

Thanks to the attention paid by Leonardo da Vinci to every detail, observing the "Lady with an Ermine" we can admire the Lombard fashion of that time, especially in terms of hairstyles. You can see Cecilia, a fifteen-year-old noblewoman who has a "Spanish style" hairstyle, very much in vogue during that period. Not only that, on the head the lady has a very thin and transparent cap that holds her hair, letting slip only a strand on one side, while a strip crosses her forehead and embellishes the delicate face of the girl.

The "Lady with an Ermine" is kept in Poland

Not everyone knows that this wonderful masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci is part of Poland's art collections. For a few centuries the traces of this painting had been completely lost, precisely until the painting was bought by a prince: Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, in 1800. Later, the work of art was transferred several times: to Paris during the Polish uprising, then it was hidden in Krakow, in the basement of the castle of Wawel, while in 1939 the painting was used to decorate the residence of Hans Frank, and then it was taken to Germany, where it remained until in 1946 it was returned to its rightful owners. Finally, in 2016, the "Lady with an Ermine" was sold to the Polish government along with other works from the collection of the Czartoryski princes and it is now admired at the National Museum in Krakow.

Article by: Aurora Caraman

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