Leonardo da Vinci: Lady with an Ermine

Leonardo da Vinci: "Lady with an Ermine"

Poland buys art collection including a great Leonardo

The Polish government has bought the Czartoryski Collection, including a masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, for a fraction of its estimated market value

December 31, 2016

According to several sources, the Polish Government has paid 100 million euros ($105 million) for the Czartoryski Art Collection, which includes Leonardo da Vinci's famous "Lady with an ermine".

The collection was started in 1796 by Princess Izabela Czartoryska and includes the Leonardo, a very important painting by Rembrandt ("Landscape with the Good Samaritan"), and works by Dieric Bouts and Pieter Brueghel the Younger, among others, as well as Roman, Greek and Egyptian antiquities. It also included Raphael's "Portrait of a Young Man (self-portrait?)", stolen by the Nazis and missing since World War II.

The Leonardo is insured for about 350 million euros ($370 million), and considering the recent prices paid for much lesser important artworks ($300 million for paintings by Gauguin and De Kooning) such estimate seems realistic, or even conservative. The "Lady with an ermine" is an extremely beautiful work, mysterious and dark, similar in style to "La Belle Ferronnière", but even better. It has been largely and unfortunately repainted, mostly in the left side, which have changed its original aspect and have created some discordant voices that consider it as a work by the workshop. However, most of the critics still consider it as one of the great masterpieces by Leonardo.

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