A Consistent if Insatiable Appetite

November 15, 2010

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?

—William Butler Yeats

Francois Boucher, Leda and the Swan, 1742, Collection of Lynda and Stewart Resnick

Francois Boucher’s Leda and the Swan, on display in Eye for the Sensual, is a bit of well-rendered dream. The Swan’s foot is perfectly webbed, scaled, and highlighted. The sweep of the neck, in paint and varnish, catches light in one beautiful motion.

It can be said about Jupiter, in disguise or not, that he certainly has his eyes on a certain “type” of woman. The two women in this painting could be sisters. He seems determined to be around their nudity. Jupiter’s wife, Juno (a Rembrandt work also residing in Los Angeles) bares quite a similar countenance. The three ladies’ bosoms are ample, their eyes are made lustily for the bedroom, and their cheeks are full and ruddy. Why, with only a squint they might be interchangeable.

So while I may question Jupiter’s motivations and tactics, I can at least appreciate his consistency.

Laura Cherry