Francesco Melzi was Leonardo familiar with since childhood. In 1506, fifteen-year-old boys entered the Studio of Leonardo, were accompanied by a teacher in Rome in 1513 and Paris in 1517. This trip was accompanied by Leonardo and cardinal Luigi Aragonsky. According to his memories, Leonardo, white-haired old man, could no longer work due to paralysis of the hand, and his Milan-based student (they could only be Melzi) wrote under the guidance of Leonardo so well that his work cannot be distinguished from the brush of a great master. Leonardo was proud of the skill his pupil and together they created several paintings. Some of the paintings, propisyvaetsya informed Leonardo, now considered works Melzi, for example, the famous "Columbine" from the Hermitage. After the death of his mentor 2 may 1519 Melzi remained his heir in accordance with the will of April 25, 1519 As the records of the servant of Leonardo Battista de Villanis of 10 August 1519, before his return to Italy, Francesco Melzi some time was in the service of the king of France. In Italy, the heir of Leonardo is back famous and was invited to the court of Duke Alfonso d'este. Being a wealthy man, Melzi wrote not very much. Disputed is the authorship of late paintings by Melzi's "Portrait of a young man with parrot", which has little in common with the work of Leonardo and more reminiscent of the Roman school of Raphael.
Melzi was engaged in servicing and maintenance of the heritage of Leonardo da Vinci. He published records of Leonardo on painting, in the book under the title "Trattato della Pittura".
Melzi died around 1570 venerable master in his family estate in Vaprio d'adda. The heirs of Francesco Melzi, quickly sold out the legacy of Leonardo, which he's shore. Part of the heritage of the great Leonardo was because of this forever lost.