Swan song The series Swan song tells the story of Leda and the swan and and raises questions about our relationship with nature. Leda, the consort of the Spartan king, appears in the mythological story of ‘Leda and the Swan’. Zeus was in love with her, but could not persuade her to love him. Only after he metamorphosed into a swan, did he win Leda over. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo painted this love in the Renaissance. These works are used as a backdrop for three of Ilse’s canvases and form a contrast with how swans currently appear in the news. For example, swan hunting is a point of discussion in the Netherlands and, recently, 600 young swans were covered with oil after a spill in the port of Rotterdam. Our destructive relationship with nature is frightening, yet we must continue with our lives, steering slowly, even if it is difficult.
Leda and the Swan after Leonardo da Vinci, oil on canvas, 100 x 175 cm, July 2016
Leda and the Swan after Michelangelo, oil on canvas, 130 x 200 cm, July 2016
Mending the swan, oil on canvas, 130 x 200 cm, November 2017
The Threatened Swan after Jan Asselijn, oil on canvas, 140 x 100 cm, February 2018
Swan love, oil on canvas, 110 x 85 cm, June 2018
Swan song, oil on canvas, 175 x 100 cm, August 2018