Leda and the Swan

7:00 AM

Pontormo, Leda and the Swan, 1512

The influence of this painting comes from a Greek myth. In the painting the god Zeus is represented by the swan. Zeus, in the form of a swan, raped Leda. In some versions it is said that he merely seduced Leda. Though in most versions that is not the case because Leda bore four children. According to many versions of the story Zeus raped Leda on the same night she slept with her husband Tyndareus, king of Sparta. As shown in the painting Leda laid two eggs from which the children hatched from. Helen and Polydueces are children of Zeus while Castor and Clytemnestra are children of Tyndareus. 

This painting by Pontormo is very similar to the one painted by Leonardo da Vinci, who was one of Pontormo's great influences and mentors. Although da Vinci's version of the painting is significantly better than Pontormo's they still share similarities. In Leonardo da Vinci's version there is more life and livelihood versus Pontormo's dull and harder colors and tones. There is more life in the background and there emotion and movement within the subjects of Leonardo de Vinci's painting. Something that is interesting is that in his painting he only accounts for two of Leda's children which I would assume are the children of Zeus. Pontormo also did not carry out the proportions of Leda correctly. Her body is in a sort of triangular shape, and it almost looks as if he didn't fully include and paint all her supposedly visible body parts. 

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