Monday, February 27, 2012


One of the highlights of my Roman holiday was a visit to the Galleria Borghese which, in spite of being plundered by Napoleon, still has a marvellous collection of ancient and less ancient sculptures. Bernini is one of its stars. At the age of 24 in 1622 he began to sculpt this life size representation of Apollo pursuing Daphne which took him three years to complete.
Apollo's love for the nymph Daphne was unrequited so he determined to take her by force. He chased after her but just as he was about to put his arms around her, Daphne called to her father, the river god Peneus, to save her. He did so by changing her into a laurel tree. In Bernini's statue you can see her fingers sprouting leaves, her toes roots and the bark of the tree enveloping her left leg. The statue is remarkable for its conveyance of motion with Daphne's hair flying up and Apollo's robe sailing behind and of course the beautiful symmetry of Apollo's right hand behind and Daphne's left hand up in the air in front. It is perfect and interesting from every angle and I am sorry that I'm only showing you one angle here. You'll have to go and see it, if you haven't already done so!


Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

That's a place I must go to!

5:51 pm  

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