Ian and Jayne Middleton attended this special exhibition and both were overawed with one particular work on display.
It was the ‘Lady with an Ermine’ and painted by Leonardo da Vinci around 1489–1490.
The subject of the portrait is Cecilia Gallerani, painted at a time when she was the mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, and Leonardo was in the service of the duke. The painting is one of only four portraits of women painted by Leonardo, the others being the Mona Lisa, the portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, and La belle ferronnière.
Disregarding the obvious arrogance of belief that he could make a passable copy, Ian went to town on the research even studying ex-rays of the painting and obsessively working to the palate colours at the time. Interestingly, Leonardo’s thumb print can be found on the lady’s face close up.
The result of Ian’s hard laboured efforts can now be seen as he releases the results on his website.