(b. 1493, Milano, d. 1570, Milano)
Oil on panel, 65 x 55 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome
This fascinating, albeit damaged, painting of the goddess of flowers and gardens is an important document of Leonardesque painting in Rome. Although the attribution to Melzi is still open to debate, the imagery here is in line with Melzi's two most notable works, the Flora (St Petersburg) and the Vertumnus and Pomona (Berlin). Of particular note is the intense botanical interest shown in these paintings - each flower readily identifiable and closely observed - which springs directly from association with Leonardo, as does the goddess's half smile.