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Leonardo Da Vinci and the Splendor of Poland:
This manual presents an array of Western European and Polish paintings from Poland's most important national and private museums. A testimony to the remarkable history of collecting and patronage in Poland, it showcases Leonardo da Vinci's magnificent "Lady with an Ermine (Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani)", but also includes important works by Hans Memling, Jusepe de Ribera, Bernardo Bellotto, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Marie-Louise Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun, Johann Friedrich Overbeck, and others. The volume also brings to light Poland's long-overlooked cultural history. Prominent scholars describe the royal patronage responsible for acquiring great works of art throughout the Renaissance and Enlightenment; they discuss the impact on Poland's art collections when the country lost its independence in 1795 and was then partitioned geographically; and they tell the story of the cultural and political oppression that culminated in the radical dismantling of collections and museums during Nazi and then Soviet rule. The authors note that the museums of Poland are now retrieving their collections and redefining themselves within a reconfigured Europe, offering a new appreciation of the country's impressive artistic identity. [via]