Leda and the Swan


Artist:

Completion Date: 1962

Style: Abstract Expressionism

Genre: abstract painting

Leda and the Swan, one of Twombly's most accomplished works, illustrates his career-long attraction to the stories, literature and events of classical antiquity, an interest that expanded further after moving to Rome in 1957. The title, which Twombly scrawled in the lower right corner, refers to the Roman myth in which Jupiter, transformed into a swan, seduces Leda, who would later give birth to Helen of Troy. Rather than the conventional imagery of a graceful nude languidly entangled with a swan, Twombly merged diverse media, resulting in violent and forceful swirls, scratches and zig-zags flying out in all directions. Amidst the colliding, graffiti-like elements, he included recognizable hearts, a phallus, and a window-like rectangle, the latter read as a more stabilizing aspect of this otherwise explosive painting.

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