Leda, Swan and Dolmen (a Tribute to Leonardo da Vinci)


It is five hundred years after the death of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). As a tribute, I paint his lost “Leda and the Swan”. Acrylic paint on wallpaper, 40 x 50 cm.

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It is five hundred years after the death of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). His light shines into this century and perhaps even further. For me mainly as a painter: Sturdy (pyramidal) compositions, soft color gradients, small details. The works of art seem technical perfect. “Mona Lisa”, “The last supper” and “Lady with Ermine” are engraved in the collective memory. I personally love “The virgin of the rocks”. I have made my own interpretation of that painting. Watching a Da Vinci means seeing a lot of craftsmanship. This Tuscan master made various sketches for “Leda and the swan” from 1504. A painting followed in 1508.

Leda and the swan

The painting tells the story of the young Leda. Jupiter appears to her in the form of a swan and seduces her. The result is that she lays four eggs. They produce beautiful children: Castor, Pollux, Clytemnestra and Helen. In the Leonardo painting we see them crawling out of their eggs. Or rather: we saw them crawling out of their eggs. The artwork was last seen in a French royal palace. After that it disappeared without a trace. Probably destroyed because of the offensive nature.


Fortunately, we still have three original sketches. One is in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in my hometown Rotterdam. And different copies of the painting are still existing. They give me enough basis to make my own interpretation. I choose to stay close to the original. Perhaps from a sort of compensation urge. The loss cannot be made good, but I can try to alleviate the suffering. My own input mainly consists of a dolmen and the omission of the children. Personally I find them too distracting on the reconstructions and disturbing on the composition. That is why they are back into their eggs.


First I made a sketch that I worked out in a drawing with fine liner and pencil. This version I made with acrylic paint and gesso on wallpaper. It is 40 x 50 centimeters.


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