Skip to main content

Style of Pier Francesco Mola, Leda and the Swan

Key facts
Full title Leda and the Swan
Artist Style of Pier Francesco Mola
Artist dates 1612 - 1666
Date made probably 1650-66
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 38.6 × 50.1 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Lord Farnborough, 1838
Inventory number NG151.1
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Leda and the Swan
Style of Pier Francesco Mola

The story of Leda and the Swan is a Greek myth which exists in various versions. Leda, the wife of the king of Sparta, was loved by the god Jupiter (Zeus in Greek) who transformed himself into a swan and seduced her. As a consequence she gave birth to the twins Castor and Pollux, who were hatched from eggs.

This small erotic painting was clearly intended for a patron’s private enjoyment. The subject had been popular in art since the Renaissance: a painting of the subject by Michelangelo, of which Leda and the Swan (also in the Gallery’s collection) is a copy, was widely known through a sixteenth-century engraving.

The poor condition of the picture makes it difficult to be certain that Mola painted it, but its style is close to that of his mature works.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo