Leda and the Swan (after Leonardo)

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Leda and the Swan (1510-1515 - Cesare da Sesto)

The true genesis of both the Leda and the Saint Anne lies in Leonardo’s fascination with the enigma of human conception and birth, as seen from two entirely opposing perspectives: the sacred (through the virginal conception of both Anne and Mary) and the profane (through lusty intercourse, bordering on bestiality). The depiction of Leda, perhaps the most erotic representation of a female nude since Antiquity, was undoubtedly assisted, if not stimulated, by Leonardo’s anatomical exploration of the female body at the Santa Maria Nuova. 

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