Leda and the Swan, c. 1710

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The Putnam Dana McMillan Fundexpand_more  78.63.1

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Zeus, the ancient Greek god of the sky and thunder, desired Leda, the beautiful wife of Tyndareus, king of Sparta. To win her affection, he assumed the elegant guise of a swan and approached her on a riverbank. In Montauti’s work, the two are shown in a tender embrace, with the swan inclining intently to meet the mortal Leda’s affectionate gaze. Their close eye contact suggests they share not only a physical attraction—the main focus of most artistic representations of the subject—but a psychological attraction as well. Note too the variety of vivid surface textures the artist achieves, from Leda’s supple flesh to the swan’s delicate plumage to the misty vapor of the cloud that encircles both figures.

Details
Title
Leda and the Swan
Artist Life
1683–1746
Role
Artist
Dimension
18 in. (45.72 cm)
Accession Number
78.63.1
Curator Approved

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