Leonardo da Vinci's Portrait of a Milanese Courtesan

Free Public Lecture

Leonardo da Vinci's Portrait of a Milanese Courtesan

Forum Theatre Level 1, Room 153
Arts West


More information

T: 8344 6984


This talk focuses our attention anew on Leonardo da Vinci's famous Girl with an Ermine, a depiction of Cecilia Gallerani, mistress of the duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. Timothy McCall examines Cecilia's artistic representation within conventions surrounding Renaissance mistresses at court, and in relation to visual imagery celebrating both her identity and that of her lord Ludovico. New evidence presented here – from an overlooked letter, recent technical analysis of the painting, and fashion history alike – reveals that the relationship between the two began earlier than scholars have presumed (when Cecilia was barely in her teens). This provides a new, and crucial perspective on the ways that Cecilia operated from a young age in Milan, and will allow us to rethink both Gallerani's connections with Leonardo da Vinci and her advertisement of these connections with the artist throughout her life.


  • Associate Professor Timothy McCall
    Associate Professor Timothy McCall, Associate Professor of Art History and Director of the Art History Program