Leda and the Swan
Hans Sebald Beham
(1500 - 1550)
Medium and Support:
Engraving on paper
Lent by William and Nancy Bartley
This work is not currently on view
In the right foreground, a nude Leda embraces the god Zeus (Jove), who has taken the form of a swan in order to seduce her. In the bottom left, the inscription (LEDA A IOVE IN CYGNUM / VERSO COMPRESSA) identifies the scene. In the first state of this print, the last word of the inscription read (incorrectly) COMPRESSV; although the plate was re-engraved to correct the error in the print’s second state, a faint echo of the earlier V remains. A landscape background, including a distant castle, frames the couple. At the upper left, the engraver included his monogram, as well as the date 1548.