Week 9: Leda and the Neon

May 23, 2014

Has Greek mythology ever disappointed in delivering absurd story lines? Not that we can think of. Take for instance Leda and the Swan, the classic tale of Zeus appearing in the form of a swan to seduce Leda. Although the story has been depicted by many artists and in different form over the years, our attention was caught by the biscuit porcelain Sèvres statuette (Museum no. 382-1874). This particular object was modelled by Etienne-Maurice Falconet in 1764 after Boucher’s painting of 1742.

The royal manufactory at Sèvres specialised in luxury porcelains, many of which were destined for the French court. Each year it displayed its newest models in the king’s apartments at Versailles. The factory was very responsive to changes in fashion and introduced many innovations in design and decoration.

But how progressive were they really? Would they have accepted our reinterpretation of their fine piece? We might have lost an eye or so because of the brightness of it all, but nevertheless we are proud to present our Leda and the Swan, in full neon.

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