Paintings Around The World

Lady with an Ermie painted by Leonardo Da Vinci


“Lady with an ermine” painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

“Lady with an Ermie” painted by Leonardo da Vinci depicts a portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, a young woman from the Milanese Court who was a favorite mistress of Ludovico Sforza, the married Duke of Milan.

The painting is kept in the Czartoryski Museum in Poland, Kraków. This painting is one of Poland’s national treasure. The painting was created in 1489-1491 during the High Renaissance.

In the painting, da Vinci painter Cecilia holding a white ermine. An ermine represents purity. An ermine would rather give itself up to dogs and hunters than to ruin its white coat in dirt and grim, having them now be associated with phrases like “Death before Defilement” and “Death rather than Dishonor”. An ermines coat is rather expensive and associated with royalty.

The painting is around 40.3 cm wide and 54.8 cm high, it was painted in oil paints on top of walnut boards. The original painting has been heavily over painted with restorations. The entire background was darkened, her dress beneath the ermine was retouched and a transparent veil being worn by her was repainted to match her hair, this give it the look that her hair reaches her chin. An x-ray of the painting revealed the presence of a door in the original background.