Klimt made many drawings before proceeding to execute his works on canvas. This drawing is a preparatory sketch for the painting, Leda, which had been destroyed by the retreating SS force by fire at the Immendorf Palace. The posture of the figure took inspirations from one of Egon Schiele’s drawings.
In Greek mythology, Leda was the daughter of the Aetolian king Thestius and the wife of king Tyndareus of Sparta. She was the mother of Helen of Troy Clytmnestra and Castor and Pollus. Zeus admired her and seduced her in the guise of a swan.