Apollo and Daphne are among Bernini’s many impressive works of art, one of the most prominent. Although the artist has many other famous works, this work is the most frequently penetrated popular culture. Maybe the fact that Apollo and Daphne’s chase has never lost its fascination for centuries is related to the sculpture. That is why we will examine this extraordinary work more closely today.
The statue of Apollo and Daphne was made between 1622-1625. That statue was a particular order given to Bernini as it was widespread at that time. The artist was famous for creating models of his sculptures differently from his contemporaries after receiving the order.
Also, Bernini had a very crowded workshop. After he designed his works, he would have the details made by the employees in his workshop. Apollo and Daphne are also a work that emerged as a result of such a working system. It is known that one of the most impressive points of the work, Daphne’s hands and hair transformed into a tree, was made by one of his assistants, Giuliano Finelli.
Bernini was right to get help while making a sculpture with many details, such as Apollo and Daphne. To capture the dramatic atmosphere of Baroque sculpture, he had to integrate many difficult elements such as flying hair and exaggerated facial expressions into his work. However, the artist seems to have overcome these difficulties, both with his design vision and his prudent choice in accepting promising young people to his workshop.
Apollo and Daphne is a reenactment of a famous mythological story. Ancient Greek mythology during the Renaissance has been an inspiration for many artists. The same is valid for Baroque. Although Baroque artists have adopted a much more exaggerated and dramatic style, they have frequently used myths in their works.
Baroque and Daphne also tell a famous myth. Apollo is mentioned in Ancient Greece as the god of prophecy and the Sun. He is quite powerful, and the symbol of his power is depicted with a bow. Daphne is the daughter of a river god.
One day, while returning from the hunt, Apollo blindly falls in love with Daphe due to some events. That is where the myth of Apollo and Daphne begins. Daphne, not wanting Apollo, begins to run away from him. But the god Apollo is strong and fast. The young girl realizes that she will be caught soon. That’s why he prays to gods, especially to his father. His plea is so sincere that the gods and goddesses pity him and save Apollo by turning it into a tree right there.
It shows Bernini’s famous statue of Apollo and Daphne, and this is precisely the moment. Apollo has finally caught the young girl, but it is too late now. Daphne has already begun to turn into a tree. The laurel tree today also comes from this myth.
Apollo and Daphne have been one of the representations of hopeless love in the art for centuries. Bernini and many other artists immortalized this duo.
This statue, one of Apollo and Daphne’s most impressive representations today, can be visited in Rome’s Borghese Gallery.