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Francesco Melzi (fl. 1491 - 1568/1570) was an Italian painter. He was the son of a Milanese noble family. Melzi joined the household of Leonardo da Vinci in 1506. He accompanied Leonardo on trips to Rome in 1513 and to France in 1517. As a painter, Melzi worked closely with and for Leonardo. Some works which, during the nineteenth century, were attributed to Leonardo are today ascribed to Melzi.
Upon Leonardo's death, Melzi inherited the artistic and scientific works, manuscripts, and collections of Leonardo, and would henceforth faithfully administer the estate. Melzi wrote to Leonardo's brothers to notify them of his death, and in this letter he described Leonardo's love for his pupils as "sviscerato e ardentissimo amore" a selfless and incandescent love.
Returning to Italy, Melzi married, and fathered a son, Orazio. When Orazio died on his estate in Vaprio d'Adda, his heirs sold the collection of Leonardo's works.
- Nuova antologia edited by Francesco Protonotari, 1873; p.960
- Flora by Francesco Melzi at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
- Description of Vertumnus and Pomona.
- Leonardo da Vinci: anatomical drawings from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Melzi (see index)
- Painters of reality: the legacy of Leonardo and Caravaggio in Lombardy, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Melzi (see index)
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