Bernini: Apollo and Daphne

Artist: Gian Lorenzo BerniniBanini
Title: Apollo and Daphne
Subject: Sculpture
Medium: Stone
Art movement: Baroque
Date: 1625
Reference: Bernini, G. L., Poussin, N., & Waterhouse, J. W. (2015, May 7). Apollo and Daphne. Retrieved 7 June 2015, from

Narrative: The sculpture of Apollo and Daphne was created from the origins of the Greek Myth.
Apollo Had apparently insulted a cupid, and as an act of revenge, it had shot him with one of its arrows, causing Apollo to fall in love with the Water Nymph Daphne.

Daphne ran, with the lust driven Apollo chasing after her, and she called to her Father Poseidon for help. He in turn turned Daphne into a Laurel Tree, and when Apollo could not have her as a wife, he kept her as his tree, and wore her leaves as a crown on his head.

Movement: The sculpture of the two beings (being asymmetrical of course) has a strong visual movement, the positioning of the bodies, and the curving upward flow due to the arms of Daphne gives it the feeling that they could come alive at any moment.

Drama: Due to the Movement, Bernini captures with exquisite detail the most dramatic part of the story, where Daphne is turning into a Laurel Tree while Apollo reaches out to her. Each of them is crafted with individualized facial features that hold such strong emotion, allowing you to feel what the emotions of the two in the frozen scene.

Also, this sculpture (unlike many that you can stand in one place and observe) makes you move around it so as to get the full picture, making you more engaged with the art work.

Contrast: The relationship between the material and the subject is in itself a huge contrast. The sculpture being made from stone, Bernini somehow conveys the sense of the smoothness of the skin, the movement of fabric, and the curls of the hair in motion as Daphne tries to flee.

The delicate detail of the piece also contradicts the strength and heaviness of the material. From her hair to the intricately carved leaves blooming from her fingers, the whole feel of the work gives off fast movement and a lightness of feet.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: