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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » April 21, 2011
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Poland's Greatest Art Treasure Set to Hit the Road
April 21, 2011   
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Princess Josette Czartoryski (L), Prince Adam Czartoryski (C) and Piotr Zuchowski (R) with the gem painting
Poland's Ministry of Culture said Wednesday it would allow The "Lady with an Ermine", a masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci and Poland's most precious painting to travel to exhibits in Spain, Germany and Great Britain, despite reservations from art experts that the painting could be exposed to a great risk of getting damaged in transit.

A personal appeal by its owner, Polish aristocrat Prince Adam Karol Czartoryski, convinced the ministry to allow Poland’s most treasured painting to go on display in three foreign sites, Poland's deputy minister of culture and general monument conservator Piotr Zuchowski, said.

It will now be shown at Madrid's Palacio Real for three months starting in May, Berlin's Gemaeldegalerie from August till October and London's National Gallery, from November until February.

The 15th century portrait of a young female holding a white ermine is part of the permanent collection of the Czartoryski Museum in the southern Polish city of Krakow, where it has been for more than 100 years.

Due to modernization undergoing at the Krakow museum the portrait most recently has been on exhibit at Warsaw's Royal Castle.

Zuchowski said that after it returns home from the exhibits abroad in 2012 the "Lady with an Ermine" would remain in Poland for at least ten years.

The painting has belonged to the Czartoryski family since the early 19th century.
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