Apollo and Daphne


Apollo and Daphne like the David, is one of Bernini’s earliest masterpieces, he created this artwork in his mid-twenties for the home of the Cardinal Scipione Borghese. This artwork is made is carrara marble and stands two hundred forty-three centimeters or eight feet in height, and was created by Bernini between the years 1622 and 1625.

This artwork is different that Bernini’s other mainly religious or Biblical artworks, because this piece shows a scene from an ancient Greek myth, the story of Apollo and Daphne. In the story Apollo was struck with one of Cupid’s arrows and as result forms an uncontrollable desire for the nymph Daphne. She has no interest in him and flees from his unwelcome advances, and in the last second before he catches her she turns into a laurel tree. The church friendly moral for this non-religious artwork later inscribed on the base by Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, later Pope Urban VIII, justified its inclusion in the Cardinal’s collection. This notation reads, “those who love to purse fleeting forms of pleasure, in the end find only leaves and bitter berries in their hands.”

Bernini’s artwork depicts the moment of Daphne’s metamorphosis with her hands quickly transforming into leaves, her legs, feet, and body being covered bark. The piece also shows motion in the way Apollo is captured in the moment after running to catch Daphne. His hair is flying back and his clothing is pulled by the force of his movement. This piece is also very realist in the way the human figures are shown, Apollo’s hair and clothing, and the plant forms on Daphne’s body.

Finally, my opinion of the artwork is that it is a very beautiful piece of Baroque artwork that wonderfully captures the classical story of Apollo and Daphne. The graceful Daphne turning into a tree before her thwarted lover, Apollo, the beautiful leaf work on her hands and hair, and Apollo caught in mid run all work together to tell the story of Apollo and Daphne.

Works Cited
“Apollo and Daphne.” Galleria Borghese. Borghese Gallery, n.d. Web. 27. Nov. 2013.
“Apollo and Daphne.” Totally History. Totally History, 2012. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
Bernini, Gian Lorenzo. Apollo and Daphne. 1622-1625. Gallery Borghese, Rome. Galleria Borghese. Web. 27. Nov. 2013.


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