With the goal of securing a pricey high art collection in the name of nationalism, Poland recently paid $105 million for a 300,000 piece lot belonging to a local aristocratic family. Most noteworthy, the sale includes the 1490 Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece “Lady with an Ermine.”
“There are 14 Leonardo da Vinci paintings left in the world and we have one of the greatest,” Piotr Glinski, Culture Minister boasted. “The Lady with an Ermine may be of better quality than the Mona Lisa. It’s really worth appreciating.”
The piece will be insured for 300 million euros when it travels, however Poland is seeking to make sure the art doesn’t leave the country anymore. Glinski explains he wants the artwork evoke “a special kind of pride among Poles.”
As such, the da Vinci painting and part of the collection is currently on display in Krakow.
Parliament approved the expense as 2016 budget deficit is set to come in much below expectations. In addition, they got quite a bargain. The Czartoryski Foundation — which has sought to preserve Polish heritage for 200 year — opted to sell for a fraction of the collections value.
“In life you do things that you’re willing to do,” explained the foundation’s founder Adam Karol Czartoryski. “I felt like making a donation and that’s my choice.”