La bella principessa - history of her collections

La bella principessa - history of her collections
23 Oct 2017, 18:00 to 23 Oct 2017, 20:00
IHR Pollard Seminar Room, N301, Third Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Kasia Woźniak, 

La Bella Principessa - coloured drawing on vellum - is the newly discovered female portrait attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. In 2012 Professor Martin Kemp, together with Dr. Pascal Cotte, confirmed the provenance from the Warsaw copy of La Sforziada (1490) by Giovanni Simonetta. In consequence, Professor Kemp asked Kasia Woźniak to research the history of this volume and the portrait.   This 5-year investigation in a number of different locations in Poland and elsewhere produced some very interesting results.

This edition of La Sforziada was brought to Poland by Bona Sforza D’Aragona in 1518 on the occasion of her wedding with king Sigismund I. It was rebound at the beginning of the 19th century, when it was in the possession of Stanislaw Zamoyski, son-in-law of Countess Izabela Czartoryska. The Countess had brought to Poland Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine, from an unknown location, and was the founder of the first Polish museum in Pulawy. In 1806 she noted that she had: “women by Leonardo” in her extensive art collection.

This paper will make the first attempt to reconstruct portrait’s history from the late 18th century until it re-emerged in Florence in the late 20th century. The unusual, richly-decorated frame that was added some time after the portrait was laid onto a wooden panel will also be discussed.

Kasia Woźniak

Studied History of Art and History of Theatre and Literature at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow and History of Art and Image Science at the Humboldt University, Berlin.   She was a guest researcher in the Department of Design and Technology, Parsons The New School for Design in New York in 2010. In 2016 she held a scholarship from the Italian Embassy in Warsaw and Istitiuto Italiano di Cultura.   She has presented her research at international conferences, including Renaissance Society of America (NYC 2014, Berlin 2015) and the International Congress for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Rotterdam (2015). 


IHR Reception
020 7862 8740