MELZI, Francesco
(b. 1493, Milano, d. 1570, Milano)

Portrait of Leonardo

after 1510
Red chalk on paper, 275 x 190 mm
Royal Library, Windsor

The drawing almost certainly depicts Leonardo da Vinci as he might have looked during the last ten years of his life. The fineness of the drawing leads us to assume that the sheet is a close copy of a self-portrait by Leonardo. It does at least appear to have been produced by someone in his immediate circle, possibly his last student Francesco Melzi. In the 16th century, this or a similar profile view was used almost exclusively as the model for depictions of Leonardo.