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Delvaux did not formally belong to the Surrealist movement. However, the dream-like atmosphere of his works, together with his erotic preoccupation with an ideal female figure, led to him being recognised as one of the leaders of Belgian Surrealism. The subject of this painting is the classical myth of the sexual encounter of Jupiter, disguised as a swan, and Leda. The story was part of the repertoire of traditional art and Delvaux has alluded to the works of past masters such as Raphael and Ingres in some details of the composition. However, the setting is an incongruously modern, urban landscape, which in its emptiness suggests strangeness and alienation.

September 2004