‘A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before.’ –R. W. Emerson


{ Leda and the Swan, copy after a lost painting by Michelangelo, c. 1530 }


{ François Boucher, Leda and the Swan, 1741-1742 | Read more }


{ François Boucher, Leda and the Swan, c. 1740 }


{ Leda and the Swan, Scindia museum, Gwalior }


{ Leda and the Swan by Norman Parkinson, 1980s }

Leda and the Swan is a motif from Greek mythology, in which Zeus came to Leda in the form of a swan.

The subject undoubtedly owed its sixteenth-century popularity to the paradox that it was considered more acceptable to depict a woman in the act of copulation with a swan than with a man.

Leonardo da Vinci began making studies in 1504 for a painting, apparently never executed, of Leda seated on the ground with her children. In 1508 he painted a different composition of the subject, with a nude standing Leda cuddling the Swan, with the two sets of infant twins, and their huge broken egg-shells.

After something of a hiatus in the 18th and early 19th centuries (apart from a very sensuous Boucher), Leda and the Swan became again a popular motif in the later 19th and 20th centuries, with many Symbolist and Expressionist treatments.

Cy Twombly executed an abstract version of Leda and the Swan in 1962.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading | Bonus: Doggie style by Fred Inaudi }

‘Existence is a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece.’ –Nabokov


My boyfriend and I have been together for nine months. We are gay. We live in a college town. We both found jobs here after we graduated, so we stayed.

Since his sophomore year, my boyfriend has had an “arrangement” with an older man, a professor at the university. Did I say older? I meant old. We are in our mid-20s; this man is in his late 60s. The old man comes to my boyfriend’s apartment once a week and cleans it. Does his laundry. Washes his dishes. He actually pays my boyfriend for the privilege. (…)

He’s particularly pervy about how he cleans my boyfriend’s bathroom. Dan, the old perv cleans my boyfriend’s toilet bowl with his own toothbrush, which he then uses to brush his teeth the rest of the week!

There is no sex. (Presumably, the old perv goes home and beats off after cleaning my boyfriend’s apartment.) None of this would matter if my boyfriend and I weren’t talking about moving in together. I want this “arrangement” to stop. I don’t feel comfortable using a toilet that a man old enough to be my grandfather cleaned with his toothbrush.

{ Village Voice | Continue reading }