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Leda & the Swan
Albumen print, 1870s
Tonality- 9/10; 272 x 191 mm., mounted
$1750.

Nude photographs were beginning to be banned in France in the 1850s. As a result of this, photographers emerged some years later posing their models in exact replication of classical works of art. This was presumably to reassure the authorities that all the nude studies were académies intended for artists, rather than being pornography. Here Marconi re-enacts the Greek myth of Leda and the swan, used in paintings by artists over the ages, including Michelangelo and Leonardo. Marconi's nude studies are the most pronounced examples of using real life nudes to imitate works of art and today often represent a striking sense of the surreal.