This painting is labeled as “Francis I receiving the last breath of Leonardo da Vinci.” During his final years, Leonardo lived in France where he was under the patronage of King Francis. I don’t know if the king was actually at Leonardo’s bedside when he died, or not. If he was, and this painting is depicting something that actually happened, then I can only assume he literally hovered over Leonardo as he lay dying, and breathed in the air exhaled by his final breath before he passed - to try to absorb his “essence” or something? It seems sort of occult, actually.
What was the deal with this? Was this a common thing to do with people who were dying, back then? Was it a religious ceremony of some kind? I’m having trouble finding any information about the practice.