The Hermitage Flora was attributed to Leonardo da Vinci until the middle of the XIX century. Then it was attributed to different students of the great master: Bernardino Luini, Giampietrino, Andrea Solario. In 1899, Andrei Ivanovich Somov included it in the museum's catalog as the work of the Italian artist Francesco Melzi (1493 - 1570).
On a relatively small board, Francesco Melzi depicted the goddess of spring flowering and plant patroness Flora. This image, popular in classical antiquity, was eagerly borrowed by Renaissance artists. In the XIX century, the work of Melzi was transferred from the original wooden base to canvas.
And although the technical condition of the painting did not cause concern and before the restoration, the author's painting was hidden under a thick layer of multi-temporarily heavily yellowed, sometimes dull varnishes, which significantly distorted the idea of color and violated the color harmony of the composition.
The disclosure of the picture from the later layers revealed a well-preserved original painting with only minor losses and abrasions.
After removing the yellowed varnish, a completely different, colder general tone of work was revealed. At the bottom of the canvas, flowers that could not be seen earlier due to late entries opened on the right and left. Before the restoration, the background looked like a single plane, after it appeared the depth and the stone slabs of the grotto became visible.