The Wallace Collection

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Leda and the Swan, after Boucher
  • Attributed to Jacques Charlier (1706 - 1790)
  • After François Boucher (1703 - 1770)
  • Leda and the Swan, after Boucher
  • France
  • mid or late 18th century
  • Miniature
  • Painted on ivory
  • Sight size: 5 x 7.2 cm
    Frame size: 7.1 x 8.3 cm
  • M66
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This composition seems to be inspired by the story of Leda and the Swan, recounted only briefly in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The rushes in the background recall how Jupiter approached Leda by river, in the form of a swan, and seduced her. In depicting Leda’s seduction, artists from the Renaissance onwards made much of the overtly erotic theme, depicting a naked reclining Leda embracing the swan (see for example a copy after Michelangelo at the National Gallery, NG1868). This composition differs from such examples by not showing Leda coupling with the swan. Unusually, she is depicted with a second woman, and it is not clear which if either of them is intended to be Leda.
    This miniature derives from a painting by Boucher in the National Museum, Sweden. It is painted in gouache on ivory.