On my writer's walking tour recently,
I came across an older woman reading in one of these chairs
at the Fontaine de Leda in the Jardin du Luxembourg.
She got up to leave just as I snapped the photo
so instead of 'Portrait d' une Femme Lisant'
we are left with 'L'Invitation dans le Jardin'.
Originally located at the corner of Vaugirard and Rue du Regard,
the fountain was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806
and moved during Louis Napoleon's reconstruction
of the center of Paris in 1856.
This beautiful bas-relief sculpture on raised pedestal
is of 'Leda and the Swan',
created by a young sculptor named Achille Valois (1785-1862).
It was preserved and moved to its present location
behind (and attached to) the Medici Fountain.
The subject of Leda,
having been seduced or raped (we'll never know which) by the Greek god Zeus,
was perpetuated by Ovid throughout the Middle Ages
and became even more popular during the Italian Renaissance.
Painted, drawn or sculpted by the likes of
Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Correggio,
their works were used
as studies for future artist's pieces.
Both Leonardo and Michelangelo's works of this subject
were recorded as being in the French royal collection at Fontainebleau
but both were lost or destroyed.
Correggio's was also damaged while in the collection
of the Regent of France, the figure of Leda said to have been
stabbed with a knife by Louis XVI .
A provocative subject eliciting many responses over the centuries
including one critic's voice regarding the placement
of the above bas-relief in the park,
"before the eyes of the public".
Maybe that's why it sits behind the Fontaine du Medici
in a corner.
~Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen~
Info from Wikipedia