Reference Entry

Melzi, Francesco

Maria Teresa Fiorio

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T056730

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(b Milan, 1491–3; d Vaprio d’Adda, c. 1570).

Italian painter and draughtsman. Belonging to a noble Lombard family, he began to attend the workshop of Leonardo da Vinci around 1508, during Leonardo’s second visit to Milan. From that time on he was always associated with Leonardo, whose favourite pupil he became: he followed Leonardo to Rome in 1513 and moved with him to France in 1515, staying with him until his death in 1519. In his will Leonardo entrusted Melzi with works he had with him at Cloux, mainly drawings and manuscripts, which Melzi brought back to Italy in 1520 and guarded jealously in his villa at Vaprio, where Leonardo had stayed as a guest in 1512. Vasari visited Melzi at Vaprio during his tour of Lombardy in 1566 and described him as ‘a beautiful and kind old man’. Melzi played a crucial role in conserving Leonardo’s manuscripts and in ensuring that his theories on painting survived as the ...

Reference Entry.  901 words. 

Subjects: Painting ; Renaissance Art

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