Leonardo between the Sunday painters

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Jan 12 2014

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Category: Europe, Poland

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Krakow is the proud owner of a real oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci: Lady with an Ermine. So maybe it shouldn’t surprise us to find a copy or reproduction of it in this open air stall in Krakow. It’s hanging there in the middle – even in duplicate -, unpretentiously hidden between work of all sorts of Sunday painters.

In the display, more to the left, we can also descry a tiny image of Pope John Paul II, that other pride of Krakow. The old man with beard whom we can see portrayed in multiple paintings between Pope and Ermine Lady, is probably a third pride of the town, but I must confess that I don’t know who it is.

And where is Copernicus, the slightly younger contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci? He does have his statue in town, but it disappoints me not to find his portrait in the display of this stall. If there is one historical figure Krakow can be proud of, it is this remarkable mathematician and astronomer. With his study De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, he has forever changed the till then current world view in which the Earth was considered the center of the universe.

Buste of Copernicus at the Library of the Collegium Maius Museum of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland 2007

Bust of Copernicus at the Library of the Collegium Maius Museum of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland 2007

In the old university, where young Copernicus studied before he went to Italy, I found his bust. Krakow may indeed take pride in the fact that this great, original mind received his initial scientific education in its university, more than 500 years ago.

Photo of the week: Krakow, Poland 2007

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