Libby Edwards Galleries & Art Consultancy

Sidney Nolan

"Leda and the Swan"
Rippolin on board
90 x 120cm
$AUD 90,000.00


1960

This is Nolan at his enigmatic best. He poses the question, how little paint can I employ to evoke the spirit of Leda? And if I can get way with it, will the picture work? 

 

Nolan is hit and miss. He painted by the square kilometre.  And after initial success, developed art on an industrial scale of mass production. Ocassionally he got it spot on. But if youve ever endured the carcasses on dsiplay at Moma, you may have paused to wonder, is this boring? And Gallery Directors dont like it when you answer in the affirmative. 

 

But this Nolan is evidence that at his ambivalent best. As a master of understatement. The Swan and Leda are superimposed above the black inkiness of imagination and a flurry of swirrls with just enough excecuted detail to give us the clue. Trance-like, ephemeral and tactile the swirls form and assemble into an  identifiable shape. The cosmos awakens in this evocation of Zeus.  His transformation into Swan entices, and beckons, to seduce the hapless Leda. Rather a swan in this pre-Weinstein evocation of unlimited power and lust in full descent upon the near naked Leda. A swirl of incandesence is all he needs.  For Gods are not mere mortals, and may transform themselves at leisure. Its for you, the audience to pick the pieces, and find fornication in this feathery incandesence. Some of you may find something else. Ambiguity is at the core of good art.