Melzi joined Leonardo da Vinci in Rome in 1813 when he was 20 years old. In 1517, he followed Leonardo to France where Leonardo died and left him his artistic estate.
The face of Pomona is based upon a cartoon by Leonardo now at the Royal Academy in London. Pomona was a goddess of fruits and orchards. Vertumnus had the gift of metamorphosis and was the deity of seasons and vegetation. He is shown here as an old woman singing praises to himself. Vertumnus was hadsome and ultimately Pomona agreed to be his spouse. The elm tree with a vine growing on ints trunk may be a symbol of a solid marital union. This interpretation is based on an extract from Ovids "Metamorphoses".
Note that Pomona festivals were celebrated on the same day as the Celtic New Year or Samein or Shamein and now amalgamated as Halloween. A New World symbol added to Halloween is the pumpkin or winter squash (a word of Amerindian derivation).