Leda and the Swan

Leda and the Swan




Leda and the Swan is a story and subject in art from Greek mythology in which the god Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces or rapesLeda. According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus, while at the same time bearing Castor andClytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. In the W. B. Yeats version, it is subtly suggested that Clytemnestra, although being the daughter of Tyndareus, has somehow been traumatized by what the swan has done to her mother (see below). According to many versions of the story, Zeus took the form of a swan and raped or seduced Leda on the same night she slept with her husband King Tyndareus. In some versions, she laid two eggs from which the children hatched.[1] In other versions, Helen is a daughter of Nemesis, the goddess who personified the disaster that awaited those suffering from the pride of Hubris.
The subject was rarely seen in the large-scale sculpture of antiquity, although a representation of Leda in sculpture has been attributed in modern times to Timotheos (compare illustration, below left); small-scale sculptures survive showing both reclining and standing poses,[2]in cameos and engraved gems, rings, and terracotta oil lamps. Thanks to the literary renditions of Ovid and Fulgentius[3] it was a well-known myth through the Middle Ages, but emerged more prominently as a classicizing theme, with erotic overtones, in the Italian Renaissance.

Opening 12.07.2016 at 21.30. at Mr RoHs, Fuengirola.



Leda and the Swan
By William Butler Yeats
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
                                     Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

W. B. Yeats, “Leda and the Swan” from The Poems of W. B. Yeats: A New Edition, edited by Richard J. Finneran. Copyright 1933 by Macmillan Publishing Company, renewed 1961 by Georgie Yeats. Reprinted with the permission of A. P. Watt, Ltd. on behalf of Michael Yeats.

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/414451/yeats-leda-and-the-swan/?utm_source=SFFB


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