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An extremely fine Eastern Imperial Roman marble sculptural group of Leda and the Swan

Zeus, in the form of a swan, stands on a toppled amphora, pouring its contents out over the entirety of the ground (an allegorical representation of the River Eurotas, placing the action in Sparta). The swan pulls at the Spartan queen’s himation with his mouth, while she attempts to hold him off, her left hand about the god’s throat. Leda flees to the right, her right foot raised behind her. Now lost, her right arm would have been raised, her himation gripped tightly in her right hand as she struggles to retain her modesty. A tree trunk situated center rear serves to ensure the physical integrity of the composition. The entire group sits upon a short base, a groove encircling the perimeter. Roughly finished on the reverse. Losses to Zeus’ wings, a chip from his breast. Leda’s head and right arm lost. No repair or restoration. A rare composition for the subject, showing Leda from behind and fleeing, rather than being drawn in.

3rd Century AD, or earlier

Height: 43.7 cm. (17 3/16 in.)

Width: 31.5 cm. (12 7/16 in.)

12.7 cm. (5 in.)


Ex: California private collection of Ms. A.C., 1960’s-1970’s

Exhibited: BRAFA Art Fair. (Brussels, 26 Jan- 2 Feb 2020) Published: Antiquarium, Ltd.; Ancient Treasures XVIII. (London, 2019) pp.36-37 Royal Athena Galleries; Art of the Ancient World. no.69 Special Edition. (New York, 1994) cover

Comparandum: Museum of Antiquities, Kyrene, Lybia inv. no. 14387

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