Leda And The Swan/Daphne And Apollo
  • Leda and the Swan/Daphne and Apollo

    2 digital prints under Plexiglas
    37.5 x 50 cm.
    2009

    Since the Renaissance, artists have illustrated scenes from Greek mythology, an outdated belief system, to be able to depict sexual and socially unacceptable topics and to mirror their own desires. According to the myth, Leda and the Swan, Zeus became a swan to be able to seduce Leda. As late as the early 20th century, artists depicted scenes about rape and copulation using this theme. According to the story of Daphne and Apollo, Daphne begged her father to protect her against Apollo’s advances. At the last minute, by changing her into a tree he saved her. Using these myths as a reference, numerous male artists have made pictures about postponed female conquest, gratification, longing, and unfulfilled desire. In 1928 William Butler Yeats wrote a poem entitled, “Leda and the Swan”. One line from the poem, “…How can those terrified vague fingers push the feathered glory from her loosening thighs?” strikes me as particularly meaningful. The male as swan is glorious. The female is terrified, but gradually surrenders. He wins. She surrenders. He is glorious. She is terrified.

    In my depiction of Leda and the Swan, Leda surrenders and accepts the assault as she gradually sinks into dark waters. Even if she struggles she will never win. In contrast, Daphne whose voice has been heard and whose desires and wishes have been honored, moves upward out of the murky, green water. One is conquered while the other seems to conquer, but both are controlled by male desire.