Leda Relaxes after a Hectic Week – Nora de Mariaffi

FEBRUARY 26, 2020

“I spend a lot of time thinking about the representation of women in art historically. I wanted to create a female nude that was not sexualized in a way that was catered to a male gaze and that held a lot of power. I began to think about the realities of my everyday life, the large amounts of time I spend alone when not working and what I choose to do when there are no eyes trailing me.

With all this in mind I also began to reflect on the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan (Zeus). The story goes that Zeus disguises himself as a swam and rapes Leda, the “Queen” of Sparta. Rape is such a consistent theme in Greek myths and yet is almost every time brushed over or romanticized, see: Medusa. Thinking about this aggressive story and the somewhat phallic nature of a swan’s head, I decided to flip this symbol, giving Leda the power to relax.

Out of all of this came my painting Leda Relaxes after a Hectic Week, in which the protagonist sits, drinking martinis and smoking in her messy room, unafraid of the treat of the swan as she now holds that power herself.”

You can find more of Nora’s work on her instagram or website.

An undergraduate
feminist art & art history