If you like Greek mythology, you might have heard a story about Leda and the Swan. This wasn’t a common bird, thought. According to the legend, Zeus, the head of the Olympus, turned into a beautiful white swan to win Leda’s heart. Thanks to Zeus, the woman gave birth to Helen who became the reason of the Trojan War. This myth is so widely known that it has been repeatedly immortalized in various types of art. There are a great number of Leda and Swan paintings, but only a few of them have remained popular until nowadays. Here are five amazing works of art depicting this scene from the ancient legend.
1. Tile mosaic from the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, Cyprus
This amazing mosaic adorning the temple of love goddess on Cyprus was created almost five centuries ago. The figure of Leda is portrayed with great accuracy. Her graceful, half-naked silhouette is full of femininity and desire. The Swan seems to be undressing her as she is walking away, pulling the edge of her robe with his beak in a seductive foreplay.
2. Leda and The Swan by Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was inspired by this legend as well, but his Leda doesn’t look like a Greek woman. She has reddish hair and her silhouette is typical for the Renaissance period. Leda stands amidst a blooming lawn embracing a huge swan that is almost of her height; beside her, we can also see two cherubs born from eggs.
3. Leda and The Swan by Michelangelo
Michelangelo depicts a kiss between Leda and her swan lover. In this painting, the Queen of Sparta has a strong muscular body and doesn’t look too feminine. The Swan’s head is pressed close to Leda’s full, luscious breasts, and her legs are tenderly embracing the bird. In the right corner, you can see an egg from which Leda’s children will be born.
4. Leda and The Swan by Francois Boucher
Francois Boucher was famous for depicting erotic scenes and his interpretation of this myth was no exception. His Leda is lying naked on the couch with her legs widely apart and the Swan is curiously observing her genitals. The interior bears typical traits of European Romanticism; Leda’s complexion, hair and body type is characteristic for the abovementioned period.
5. Leda and The Swan by Paul Cezanne
In this Impressionistic interpretation, Leda is shown as a red-haired woman of contemporary appearance half-lying on a couch. The Swan is biting her arm, and her face seems to express a certain degree of discontent about it. Unusual palette and unique style single this canvas out among those dedicated to the legend about Leda and the Swan.