Ancient Sculpture Gallery

Apollo and Daphne Marble Sculpture

Made of Carrara Marble

Finish: White Marble

Dimensions: 12"W x 7 x 19"H (30 cm x 18 cm x 48 cm)

Item No. F1625


Apollo and Daphne Marble Sculpture
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Apollo and Daphne is a baroque, life-sized marble sculpture by Italian Gian Lorenzo Bernini, housed in the Galleria Borghese in Rome. It was inspired by one of the stories included in Ovid's Metamorphoses. In the story, Apollo, god of prophecy, sees the young Eros, god of love, playing with his bow and arrows and remarks, "What have you to do with warlike weapons, saucy boy? Leave them for hands worthy of them."[1] In retribution for this reproach, Eros wounds Apollo with a golden arrow, causing him to fall in love with the nymph daughter of the river god Peneus. Eros additionally wounds the beautiful nymph Daphne, with a lead arrow, thus insuring she would not be wooed by Apollo's advances. (In fact, the arrow's power was so strong that Daphne forthwith refused all of her lovers.) Regardless of her father Peneus's requests for a son-in-law and grandchildren, Daphne begs to remain unmarried and he grudgingly consents. Apollo, struck with the golden arrow of love, pleads with Daphne to fulfill his desire. Daphne begins to flee. Even as she runs, he is more captivated by her beauty. Apollo grows impatient and soon, sped by Eros, gains on her. With slower speed and failing strength, Daphne cries out to her father just as Apollo captures her. Not a moment later, Daphne's skin turns to bark, her hair leaves, her arms branches, her feet roots, and her face a treetop. In only a moment, Peneus protects his daughter by turning her into a laurel tree. After the transformation Apollo still embraces the tree. He cuts off some of her branches and leaves to make a wreath and proclaims the laurel as a sacred tree. Bernini's sculpture captures Daphne's transformation with intense emotion and drama by portraying the different stages of her changes. The interlocking components and chiaroscuro create more narrative, reflecting foundations of Hellenistic Greek art. Also during the Hellenistic period was the androgynous depiction of Apollo. He was slender, young, and had a feminine hair style, all of which are portrayed in this sculpture. Part of Apollo's iconography is the laurel tree and the wreath, originating from Ovid's story and illustrated in Bernini's work. Although Apollo preached "All things in moderation" and was known to control his emotions, this sculpture clearly reveals him desperately pursuing love in vain. The failure of getting Daphne hints at Apollo's many failures with love in general, including being unable to win a maiden and his lovers' fidelity.


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Return Policy

Since this is a made-to-order item, it is returnable within 7 days of the receipt date for money back guarantee (minus shipping charges and 10% restocking fee), provided it is returned undamaged in original condition and packaging.

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