(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)

Study for a kneeling Leda

Black chalk, pen and ink on paper, 126 x 109 cm
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Leda, the wife of the king of Sparta, was seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan. She gave birth to two eggs from which hatched Helen, Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux. This and a second compositional plan in Chatsworth show the kneeling Leda gently embracing the swan. With her right hand she is pointing to the children.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Jean-Philippe Rameau: Castor et Pollux, March