LEONARDO da Vinci
(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)
Studies of Leda and a horse1503-07
Black chalk, brush and ink on paper
Royal Library, Windsor
The sheet shows several stages in the development of the composition of the kneeling Leda. The drawing on the left was recently interpreted as a sketch that is actually a composition showing St Anne, Mary, the Christ Child, St John and a lamb. It is by no means impossible that Leonardo would have transferred figures designed for a Christian to a mythological pictorial theme. The horse study provides the means for dating the theme of the kneeling Leda to the same period as the Battle of Anghiari.