National Gallery London presents Leonardo’s Legacy: Francesco Melzi and the Leonardeschi

National Gallery Leonardeschi 1

It’s been a hot minute since Leonardo da Vinci died (500 years), so the National Gallery London is doing something to commemorate him.

They’re presenting a bunch of work from artists called the Leonardeschi, who’re basically disciples of the famed artist.

On loan, the Gallery has secured the work Flora by Francesco Melzi from the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, which it’ll display close to The Virgin of the Rocks and The Burlington House Cartoon, both by Leonardo, that can be seen in Gallery 66 of the National Gallery.

National Gallery Leonardeschi Flora
Flora (1520), Francesco Melzi (1493-1570)

“We are excited to have loaned Flora by Francesco Melzi to the National Gallery and to see her as the central focus of this fascinating display which explores the work of Leonardo’s closest friends and disciples. This represents the first time that Flora has been seen outside of Russia since it was restored by Maria Shulepova, revealing details and rich colouring which had been lost for decades under layers of old varnish,” said professor Piotrovsky, director of the State Hermitage Museum.

The painting is being displayed alongside ten other key works by the so-called ‘Leonardeschi’ from the National Gallery Collection in a free, month-long display in Room 12. This is the first time the painting has been seen in the UK and the first time it has been seen outside of Russia since its restoration.

Its restoration was just what the work needed. Undertaken in Russia, it uncovered the picture’s true colours of ultramarine blue and hidden details like flowers growing from the walls of the dimly lit grotto.