Monday, July 25, 2011

Fontaine de Leda~ Missing Paris Day

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


  1. KIRSTEN DEAREST!!!!! Oh dear one, YOU ARE BACK! It is wonderful to see you visit and to come here and see how YOUR words are inspired by your OWN photos.....that fountain is stunning and the history behind it all. I see the two chairs and automatically, my mind sees a story there. Who sat in those two chairs? What was the focus of their conversation? I love seeing what is not there to the naked eye, but only to the imagination. That is just me!!!

    Have a wonderful summer day. I AM HAVING SUCH A LOVELY SUMMER!!! Anita

  2. What an absolutely blissful spot to be enjoying a book....
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  3. Kirsten these reliefs and the fountain are gorgeous. What a place of calm and beauty!


    Art by Karena

  4. Another beautiful place in Paris to see! Thanks for the tip, Kirsten.
    Have a wonderful weekend! xx


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