Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Leda and The Swan

One evening while the lovely Leda, Queen of Sparta, went about her bath, Zeus spied her from his perch on Mt. Olympus and was smitten, enamored, or at the very least, fell deeply in lust.  Libidinous Zeus then changed himself into a swan, a bird sacred to Aphrodite, and swept down from the heavens to join Leda in her watery ritual.
 
Artists through the ages have depicted this union in many, many ways, perhaps because this particular miracle is a challenge, but fun, to imagine.  My Monotype collage version of this amorous encounter depicts Leda as self aware but unaware and slippery Zeus as diminutive, not unlike a bath toy.  I guess I was thinking of soap on a rope.  Really, who could be afraid of that?

This mythic union is very important because one of Leda’s children by The Swan is beautiful Helen. Helen’s abduction by Paris, a prince of Troy, will lead to the Trojan War and destruction of Troy, the death and memorialization of many heroes, set the stage for the future rise of the Roman Empire and in so doing inspire poets and artists for centuries to come. 

Leda and the Swan is one of four Monotypes I will be exhibiting in Water Shapes ll, a group show exploring the varied qualities of water at Roby King Gallery.  I am looking forward to the opening reception March 4, 6-8 PM.  Water Shapes ll will run March 4-26.

Roby King Gallery at 176 Winslow Way E. on Bainbridge Island, is open Tues. - Sat. from 10-5:30.

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