News from Krakow

„Lady with an ermine” was painted In years 1483-90 by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci In Milan. The portrait was made in oil, on arachnid tree board 54,7×40,3 cm., using egg tempera. ( The ability to see it, on the royal castle Wawel in Krakow / Cracow. )
In 1800 the painting was bought by prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski as a gift for his mother Izabela Czartoryska. It has been shown in the Gothic House in Puławy. During the November Uprising it was taken to Paris. At the end of 19th Century, about 1880, was taken back to Cracow, to the newly created Czartoryski Museum. In 1939 it was stolen by the German occupants and placed as a decoration in the residence of Hans Frank, and then taken to Germany, from where it finally came to Cracow, Poland, in 1946.
The painting shows Cecilia Gallerani, the lover of prince Ludovic Sforza.
The animal held by the model, called the ermine, has a complicated emblematic meaning. Its Greek name galée refers to the model’s surname. The ermine is also a clear symbol of prince Ludovic Sforza, called by the people as “Ermellino” which means “Ermine”, in reference to prestige Medal of Ermine, and also an animal in his emblem.
During the making of the painting Cecilia was pregnant with prince Ludovic Sforza, but he was to marry Beatrice d’Este, so Leonardo da Vinci could not paint the picture of lovers in a passionate embrace. The ermine on the picture is the symbol of this situation. It is also an allegory of motherhood, because according to an ancient tradition, the ermine eases a childbirth. The artist placed the animal in such way that it covered the pregnancy of the model (she was expecting Ludovic’s son – Cesare), but at the same time it was symbolically telling the truth about Cecilia being blessed with a child.

The Prussian Homage ‘Hold Pruski’, came back to Krakow after more then 1 year. It  is an oil on canvas painting by Polish Painter Jan Matejko, painted between 1879 and 1882 in Krakow, then part of Austria – Hungary.  It depicts a tribute made by Albrecht Hohenzollern,  the Duke of Prussia, to King Sigismund I the Old in the Krakow’s  market square on 10 April 1525; the key political event of the time of the Polish Renaissance, known as the Prussian Homage. It is regarded as a historical painting which shows the triumphal past of Poland, the glory of its culture and the majesty of its kings.

The Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) was built in the 14th-century in the heart of the Main Square in Krakow as a market hall. In 1879, in the restored building, the first National Museum was established, whose collection was started with a generous gift of Henryk Siemieradzki – a large-sized painting Nero’s Torches. After the completion of the current modernization, the building houses the Gallery of the 19th-Century Polish Art with the collection of more than two hundred paintings and sculptures representing the most significant trends in Polish art at the end of 18th and 19th centuries: Enlightenment, Romanticism, Academic Art, Realism, Polish Impressionism and the beginnings of Symbolism.’ Renovation and modernisation of the Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art in the Sukiennice, Krakow. Project carried out between 2007 and 2010. Supported by a grant from Norway through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and promesa programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland.

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