The Lady with an Ermine

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Leonardo Da Vinci painted “The Lady With An Ermine” in 1490. “The Lady With An Ermine” is a portrait of Cecilia Gallerani. Cecilia Gallerani was the favourite and most celebrated mistresses of Ludovico Sforza, known as Ludovico Il Moro, Duke of Milan. She was the subject of Leonardo’s painting “The Lady With An Ermine”. While posing for this painting Cecilia invited Leonardo, who was working for Sforza as court artist, to meetings at which Milanese intellectuals discussed philosophy and other subjects. At the time this was happening, Cecilia was only 17. “The Lady With An Ermine” has been heavily painting but does not capture the viewer’s eye straight away. It consists of Cecilia Gallerani and a white Ermine which was Ludovico’s heraldic emblem. The Ermine’s white fur was viewed as a symbol of purity. The Ermine obviously trusts Cecilia in order to sit there for the amount of time it took. Cecilia looks to be standing up but her body tilts three-quarters to her right but heard head is turned to her left. Her hair appears to have been folded under her chin and tied into a long plait at the back which is all held back with a gauze veil. Her dress is simple which states that she was not a noblewoman. The lines on Cecilia’s face suggest that she is contemplating and listening to a “third party” that we cannot see. There is a slight smile on her mouth but her eyes are blank like she is concentrating on something or someone beyond the frame. The ermine’s eyes and the lines of its face suggest that it is uncomfortable being in that position. “The Lady With An Ermine” is a very fine and detailed painting and shows every wrinkle around her knuckles and the contour of her fingernails. Leonardo Da Vinci painted this with so much detail that you can see nearly every strand of the Ermine’s fur and the detail of Cecilia’s dress. You cannot see her ears but according to society her eyes are small but her nose sits perfectly in the middle of her face....
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