If Paris has her Monalisa and The Hague has her Girl With A Pearl Earring, Krakow’s answer is likely just as pedigreed.
Our only objective at the National Museum in Krakow was a temporary exhibition – the piece is only visible until the end of November this year – of a state-owned, authentic Leonardo da Vinci painting, Girl With An Ermine, a priceless treasure incongruously surrounded by mostly Polish art. Since any work by da Vinci is considered close to sacred and kept in the best museums, it’s a wonder that one could be found here in Krakow. We still had much time after seeing the Oskar Schindler Factory so a quick cab-ride later, courtesy of a lead-footed driver with somewhat limited patience, we were front and center of the museum’s 30s-era structure for a quick peek.
As is with a lot of Krakow attractions, once again no photos could be taken of the Girl, never mind that more famous, more impressive institutions like the Louvre, the Hermitage, the Smithsonian, etc, etc, allow it. Knowing that people do love bringing memories home with them, perhaps as a concession, the museum did set aside space for anyone who’d like to pose before a fake, two-dimensional version just outside of where she hung. Generosity overfloweth, Leonardo would probably say.