The nigh before going to what became my favorite gallery of the trip, The Borghese Gallery in Rome, we were assigned to read Ovid’s Apollo and Daphne. The tragic love story of Apollo being stuck by cupid and falling in love with Daphne only for her to to be struck with an antilove arrow and eventually begging her father too turn her into a tree to try to get rid of Apollo’s love for her. Weird yet amazing story and it made for an even more amazing sculpture. Bernini was know for making marble or stone scupltures that are filled with emotion, action and movement. The Apollo and Daphne sculpture fit his MO. The sulpture captures the momen as Daphne is transforming into a tree.
The viewer can see her hands turning into leaves, her toes turning into roots and her hair turning into branches. Her leg is also starting to look like bark. She is partial tree, partial woman. Her face is one of both relief and anguish and Apollo’s face is love and a bit of desperation. It was really incredible to see. I stood in front of it forever. There was so much detail and it was all intact which was perhaps the most remarkable to me. I have dont sculpture before and those little leaves and tiny roots are soo fragile. All in all it was one of my favorite things to see. Truly incredible. Every Bernini sculpture I saw was truly unfathomable to me. I uttered more than once, ” How?” or ” I can’t believe it’s actually marble or stone” “What in the?” hahaa they just blow your mind 🙂