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Open Access

Leda and the Swan

Artist: Hans Sebald Beham (1500 - 1550) Primary
Date: 1548
16th century
Object Type: Print
Creation Place: Europe, Germany
Medium and Support: Engraving on paper
Credit Line: Lent by William and Nancy Bartley
Accession Number: L2016.13.01
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.


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