Ninon’s favourite pieces of Art #6


Apollo e Daphne
(Apollo and Daphne)
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1622-25. Galeria Borghese, Rome.

In Greek mythology, Apollo, god of the sun and music made fun of the young Eros (Cupid in Roman mythology) playing with his bow and arrows. His feelings being hurt, he shot a lead arrow - to incite hatred - in Daphne's heart, nymph and daughter of Peneus, a river god. To achieve his revenge, he then touched Apollo with a golden shaft causing him to deeply fall in love with Daphne. Even before that event, Daphne didn’t intend to take a husband, preferring the woods, sports and her free life in the forest. Apollo chased her and when Daphne was upon being caught, she begged her father to help her, whatever it could take. Peneus then changed his daughter into a laurel. Unable to take Daphne as his wife anymore, he swore to take her as his tree, and that every leader would ornate their heads with laurel leaves.
I had the chance to see this masterpiece when I was in Rome two years ago. You’re not supposed to take pictures inside the Villa Borghese but if you can find some of the rooms, you’ll understand how this place is a must-see when you visit Rome. This statue has its own room, so you can easily turn around to catch every single detail of the smooth marble and the texture of the hair, the details of the hands… I believe I stayed at least 20 minutes admiring this statue ! I’ve always liked myths, whether they’re from Ancient Greece, Roman or even Egyptian. Seeing how art represent those myths throughout Art History is very interesting : you can see how artists adjust them to their Art stream, and the morals of the time they lived in. This statue is breathtaking, but to be honest, all of Bernini’s masterpieces are almost unreal because of their beauty. I might do another post on Bernini in the future. 

Further information of Ninon’s favourite pieces of Art