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Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

A drawing of the head of a woman turned three quarters to the left, looking down. The hair is fastened in elaborate braids, and arranged in coils over the ears. This is a study for the head of Leda in the lost painting of <em>Leda and the Swan</em>.<br>

The head of Leda ©

The mythical princess Leda was seduced by Jupiter in the form of a swan and bore two eggs, from which came two pairs of twins. This is a study for a painting that was executed by Leonardo during his last decade. It was still in his studio at his death and was the most highly valued item in his estate.

In the drawing Leonardo expended little effort on Leda’s demure downward glance, devoting his attention instead to the most complicated of hairstyles, with parallel plaits running over the top of her head and a pattern of interlacing at the temples.

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