Feb 18

Painting “Flora”, created by Francesco Melzi, student of Leonardo da Vinci returns back to the Hermitage museum.

The art experts of the museum had found that the original color scheme of the painting was difficult to distinguish. The restorers managed to move yellowish varnish coat from the painting and now we can discover its true palette. Thus, the painting got back its original appearance and authentic colors. Due to restoration the background and its details can be much better distinguished. Removal of varnish can now provide us with better perception of the painting’s real vivid colors and changes the impression from the colors and painting in general.
The canvas depicts the Goddess of flowers Flora, whose image was very popular during the Renaissance period. Flora came to the Hermitage in the XIX century. Once it was attributed to the brush of Leonardo himself. At the end of the century, though, the experts figured out that it was one of his student’s work. Finally, it was labeled with the name of Melzi.
The art works by Francesco are real rarities and are not very often seen in the museums. His name is often pronounced together with Da Vinci’s name. Francesco Melzi went to France following his teacher and stayed with him till the end of his life being the artist’s most devoted student.
He was very similar to Leonardo in the approach and manner of painting. Predominantly this is true about sfumato used by Da Vinci and later by his student. Looking at Flora we may find details similar to Leonardo’s painting from Milanese period. These similarities made scholars think differently about attribution of the painting. It is still very arguable and there are many art experts who still want to attribute it to Da Vinci. In the internet and in the scholar’s society you may find a lot of discussions and agreements about the painting’s origin.

Please read our previous post.