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Roman Art

Early Roman Imperial period
First Corridor (A2)
Pentelic marble (older part); Parian marble (head); Italic marble (modern restorations)
171 cm (height)
1914 n. 239

A gift from Cardinal Cesi to Francesco I de’ Medici, this work arrived in the Gallery towards the end of the 16th century. The head, although old, does not belong to this body. Other additions include the right arm, the block formed by the bottom of the robe, the feet, the part of the robe that drapes over the left arm, and also the head and neck of the swan. It is the presence of the swan, which the woman holds in her left hand that allows us to identify the statue as Leda, the mythical queen of Sparta, seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan, giving birth to Caster and Pollux, Clytemnestra and Helen.

The sculpture, of which there is a second copy at the National Museum of Archaeology in Naples, can be set among the works from the 1st-2nd century A.D., inspired by older Greek models and datable to around 330-300 b.C.


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