Leda and the Swan (c.1506; Milan, Italy) by Leonardo da Vinci

Leda and the Swan - Leonardo da Vinci - c.1506; Milan, Italy

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Artwork Information

TitleLeda and the Swan
ArtistLeonardo da Vinci
Datec.1506; Milan, Italy
Dimensions16 x 13.9 cm
Art MovementHigh Renaissance
Current LocationChatsworth House, Derbyshire, UK

About Leda and the Swan

The artwork “Leda and the Swan” is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, dating from around 1506 during his time in Milan, Italy. This mythological painting falls within the High Renaissance movement and is executed using chalk, wash, and ink on paper, with dimensions of 16 x 13.9 cm. Presently, the piece resides at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, United Kingdom.

The artwork depicts the mythical narrative of Leda and the swan, an episode from classical antiquity where the god Zeus, in the guise of a swan, seduces or assaults Leda. In this rendering, Leda is shown standing, her form rendered with delicate, precise lines that demonstrate Leonardo’s masterful understanding of anatomy and his interest in the human form. The swan, depicted with curved neck and detailed feathers, interacts intimately with Leda, who is drawn with a gentle expression, suggesting a sense of acceptance or resignation. The background contains plant life, sketched with a lighter touch to give depth to the scene. Leonardo’s use of sfumato, a technique of gentle gradation of tone, adds to the sensuous nature of this encounter. The economy of line and the dynamic composition exhibit the artist’s inventive exploration of this mythological subject and his ability to convey complex emotions and narratives through his art.

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