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Jun 6

The painting in Hannibal’s dining room is Leda and the Swanby François Boucher created in 1740. 

Leda was a queen of Sparta in Greek mythology. Zeus admired her beauty, transformed himself into a swan and seduced/raped her (this was obviously all right, because he is a god). The same night she also shared a bed with her husband, so there was not a conclusive way to find out who is the father of each of four children born from the resulting eggs. However, it is believed that one of the daughters - Helen of Troy - is the daughter of Zeus. 

Leda and the Swan is common motive in both renaissance  and baroque art. Other depictions can be found for example here.

It is a bit of bestiality porn, but it is all right as well, because it is art :-). I just have to wonder - if this is what have Hannibal in dining room… what paintings must be in his bedroom? ;)

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It is also reference to Hannibal, the novel (thanks to reblogging fans to pointing it out):
“His absentee landlord apparently had a fixation on Leda and the Swan. The interspecies coupling was represented in no less than four bronzes of varying quality, the best a reproduction of Donatello, and eight paintings. One painting in particular delighted Dr. Lecter, and Ann Shingleton with its genius anatomical articulation and some real heat in the fucking.”

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All descriptions of paintings in Hannibal are here.