Eggs, ice and swan. Where do we start?

Understanding Greek mythology is an incomprehensible task. Firstly, there are a lot of them, these gods and demigods. Secondly, they bear different names and epithets (despite the fact that we are talking about the same god). Thirdly, they are prolific and illegible in relationships, which leads to earthly conflicts and wars. And who is to blame – and you will not find the ends.   

Here, for example, Zeus is the god of heaven, thunder and lightning, who knows the whole world. The main of the Olympian gods, the son of the titan Kronos. He is married, by the way, to the goddess Hera (she is his sister), but he is unfaithful to her. To say “often” is to say nothing. Continuously!    

And how many children he riveted – not count! If you want to make sure – check out Wikipedia. Like a serpent, he seduced Demeter, and then Persephone, like a bull and a bird – Europe, like a swan – Ledu, in the form of a golden rain – Danu, well, and so on.     

The fantasies of Zeus with seduction are endless! Naturally, these abilities could not pass by artists and sculptors who were inspired by unusual ways of reproducing divine power (and it may well be that they envied him).

A huge number of statues, paintings, medals, cameos are dedicated to Zeus and his adventures. Who is Zeus is already as if clear. Today we will deal with his games with Leda. Leda is the daughter of the Etolian king Festius. Struck and excited by the beauty of Leda, Zeus appeared before her in the form of a swan. Result: she laid two eggs, from which Polidevk and Elena hatched. Or she laid a triple egg, from which Castor, Polydeus and Elena appeared. Either four children appeared from two eggs.    

As for the number of eggs, there is also no uniformity: either one or two. Rumor says ab ovo, which means in Latin “from an egg”. Not with eggs. And figuratively this means “from the beginning.” There is also an expression that sounds like this: “let’s start with the eggs of Leda”. (And why not with the eggs of Zeus? The latter would be more logical, if only from the beginning.)     

But he occupied the minds of creators of statues, paintings and medallions, mainly this very moment of the mastery of Leda. And a very long time ago – one of the most ancient works of this kind dates from the first century BC. Apparently, all the creators were tormented by the same question: how is it with them? Swans were attached to Leda both this and that way. And all of them (creators) could not escape from human nature – from the natural path of connection.   

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin in the “Gabrieliad” describes the process of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary (though here is a dove, not a swan, but a bird anyway ):   

“And what! suddenly shaggy, white-winged
A cute dove flies into her window,
He flutters and circles above her,
And tries funny tunes,
And suddenly flies into the knees of a sweet maiden,
Sits and trembles above the rose,
Pecks her, smokes, turns,
And with his nose and legs he works .
He is like him! – Mary realized that she was treating another in the pigeon; Cringing her knees, the Jewish woman cried out, Sigh, tremble, start to pray, Cried, but the dove triumphs, In the heat of love trembles and cooes, And falls, enveloped in a light sleep, Priosen a love flower with a wing. ” 

Better not say.

Let’s try to deal with the artists. The ingenious Leonardo da Vinci, apparently, did not possess the technique of combining a bird with a woman, so the swan is nearby, they both stand. But Michelangelo Buonarotti depicted them in a slightly different way, closer to the usual position for the eye.  

But Leonardo already had children from eggs hatched, and frolic at the feet of Leda. It turns out that Zeus is either present at the birth of his children, or he came to Leda on a regular visit, and then – on you – the children! Everything is possible, although the legend does not say either one or the other. How would Zeus do his job – and thanks for that!      

Correggio – as it should have been with the gods – Zeus in the form of a swan and retinue. This is in case Leda suddenly says that the eggs are not from Zeus and her “egg” children are from her legal husband (she was already the mother of two children when Zeus fell on her). Although there is a problem – the first appeared in the usual way, but for these they had to switch to another method of reproduction. Miracles, games of the gods, so logic does not matter.    

But Salvador Dali and Leda, and the swan soar. Apparently, everything is in the past, because in the foreground half of the egg soars along with them – as a hint (albeit a weak one) of the myth. Half empty, no signs of children. Where did they go? 

Once half empty – they have already hatched. And they could not leave anywhere because of their helplessness (it is not mentioned anywhere that they were physically mature and independent from the moment of birth). Some riddles (which is typical for Dali). 

The most famous artists of the past had their hands on the legend, and completely non-renowned artists of our time continue to apply it. For example, in Old Jaffa, the visor above the door is supported by as many as two Ledas with two swans carved from steel (for how many years these brackets are unknown, maybe a hundred, because they are very touched by rust). This attempt to promote cultural heritage deserves attention and approval. 

Among many other contemporary pictorial interpretations of the myth, there is one. Leda is sleeping in a modern swimsuit (or supposedly sleeping), next to her is a swan – and two eggs. Absolutely illogical reversal: did not have time to connect – and it is ready. It would take some time to ripen the eggs (no one wrote what). And what, Zeus has nothing more to do, how to watch around her and wait until she gives them out? Not a divine thing! And anyway, when did she put on her swimsuit and where did she get it? Or is it a hint that a modern woman can do everything, including laying eggs? Well, the inversion of the artist!   

Leda and the swan – an inexhaustible theme for artists! They continue to create … 

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