LEDA ON THE NIDD
2007 - 8
oil on board 60 x 80 cms
Originally this started life as a series of nude poses on the river Nidd in North Yorkshire. I was more concerned with shadows in sunlight and experimenting with the idea of a nude in natural surroundings. Once I committed the composition to oils the overall feeling was far too sweet. There was even a butterfly sunning itself on the rock!
Several months later I remembered the old greek legend "Leda and the swan" and the poem by W.B.Yeats. The god Zeus transformed himself into a swan and seduced or raped the young Leda who later gave birth to two of his children. (He played a similar trick on Europa!)
By adding the retreating swan in the background and a couple of his breast feathers in the foreground, the atmosphere became a lot darker and more poignant. We the viewer have arrived after the main event. Zeus has already "laid her" on the Nidd!