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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Leda and the Swan and Her Children

Leda and the Swan and Her Children

ca. 1540

Vincent Sellaer

Flemish, Mechelen, active mid-16th century

In Greek myths, shape-shifting gods often assumed the bodies of animals in their contact with humans. Jupiter came to Leda, queen of Sparta, in the form of a swan. The result of their union were three children hatched from eggs-the twins Castor and Pollux, and Helen of Troy. This strange family portrait has a combination of attractive and unsettling qualities that are typical of Mannerism--gorgeous textures and colors, crossing and intertwining forms, and Leda's icy detachment.
Oil on wood panel
43 1/2 x 35 1/16 in. (110.5 x 89cm)
Gift of Hester Diamond in honor of Chiyo Ishikawa on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum
Not currently on view

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