LEONARDO da Vinci
(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)
Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with an Ermine)1483-90
Oil on wood, 55 x 40 cm
Czartoryski Museum, Cracow
Cecilia Gallerani is holding the heraldic animal of Ludovico il Moro in her arms. She was his favourite and gave birth to his child in the same year as he married Beatrice d'Este. The charming and vivid impression Cecilia makes gained Leonardo the reputation of being a talented portrait painter. The movement of this beautiful girl turning slowly from the shadow into the light is mirrored by the small animal she is holding.
The inscription in the upper left corner - La Feroniere Leonard d'Awinci - is a mistaken addition at the end of the 18th century.