Polish Government Reveals Plan to Acquire $2-Billion Collection With Leonardo Masterwork

Leonardo da Vinci, Lady With an Ermine, late 15th c.
Leonardo da Vinci, Lady With an Ermine, late 15th c.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Polish government announced Wednesday an intention to acquire the 15th-century Leonardo da Vinci masterwork, "Lady with an Ermine", as part of a deal for a two-century-old collection estimated to be worth two billion dollars.

The collection resides in the National Museum in Krakow and is owned by the aristocratic Czartoryski family.

Deputy culture minister Jaroslaw Selin unveiled the plan to acquire the collection on Tuesday as the Polish parliament discussed cultural funding..

"The Polish state and thus the Polish nation will own one of the world's most valuable art collections, including this work, which many art historians deem superior to the 'Mona Lisa'," Selin said, quoted by the PAP agency.

Princess Izabela Czartoryska began in 1801 to form the collection which is overseen by the president of the family foundation, Madrid-based Prince Adam Karol Czartoryski.

The ministry aims to keep the collection in Poland; however, Marian Wolski, head of the Czartoryski Foundation in Krakow, said a transfer of the collection to the state could be tricky because of stipulations that it is "non-transferable and indivisible."

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