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Leda and the Swan

Based on a composition by Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452-1519) known through drawings

Artist/maker unknown, Italian. Follower of Leonardo da Vinci, Italian (active Florence, Milan, Mantua, Rome, and France), 1452 - 1519.

Made in Italy, Europe

Early 16th century

Oil on panel

51 5/8 × 30 inches (131.1 × 76.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
Cat. 393

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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This painting of the standing Leda is based on Leonardo da Vinci's now-lost version of the same subject, known today mainly through copies. Leda embraces Zeus, who came to her in the form of a swan, while turning to observe the two sets of newly hatched twins, the result of their union. The Netherlandish landscape suggests a departure from Leonardo's original. Two artists may have worked on this painting: one for the figures and another for the landscape. The composition evidences the practice of adopting Leonardo's models for different settings.