Poland buys Leonardo da Vinci's painting

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The Republic of Poland purchased a collection of artworks including Lady with an Ermine, a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, from the Princes Czartoryski Foundation on Thursday.

Piotr Glinski, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, signed the agreement with Prince Adam Karol Czartoryski at Royal Castle in Warsaw.

According to the agreement, the whole collection sold at 100 million euros contains around 86,000 museum objects and around 250,000 library pieces, which will later be placed in the National Museum in Krakow, southern Poland.

The best-known piece of the collection, Lady with an Ermine, is one of the only four portraits of women painted by Leonardo.

Painted from around 1489-1490, the subject of the portrait is Cecilia Gallerani, the mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan.

The painting was acquired in Italy by Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski in 1798. In the 19th century it was sent to the Czartoryski place of exile in Paris, Hotel Lambert. It returned to Krakow in 1882, and then was seized by the Nazis in 1939 and sent to Berlin. In 1940, Hans Frank, the Governor General of Poland, requested it be returned to Krakow. At the end of the Second World War, it was discovered in Frank's home in Bavaria, then returned to Poland. It was exhibited at the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow before the selling.

The Princes Czartoryski Foundation was established by Prince Adam Karol Czartoryski in 1991, administering the Czartoryski Museum. Enditem

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