BOS, Cornelis
(b. ca. 1506, 's-Hertogenbosch, d. 1555, Groningen)

Leda and the Swan

1540s
Engraving, 280 x 410 mm
British Museum, London

According to Vasari, Michelangelo painted a panel with tempera of the subject Leda and the Swan for Alfonso d'Este of Ferrara in 1530. The painting is lost, the entire design is now known from an engraving after the panel by Cornelius Bos. There are also paintings based on this design.

The engraving was made after Michelangelo's panel in reverse. It can be assumed that Bos made additions to create the background, which would make a more attractive print. (Parts of the engraving are touched by ink.) The composition is dominated by the massive androgynous nude intertwined with the animal. The main figures overlap each other and appear in profile, fused to the ground as in a sculptural relief.




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