Apollo and Daphne

gianlorenzobernini_apolloanddaphne

Apollo and Daphne by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1622-1625

I think the sculpture of Apollo and Daphne by Bernini may have been the very first piece of artwork that I ever really noticed. It was the first piece to really register, if that makes sense. And I didn’t even see the sculpture in person, but watched a film that featured the sculpture in it. I’m not sure, but I imagine I must have been in maybe 2nd or 3rd grade. I don’t know why I was even watching the film, but I did like reading the Greek myths especially back then.

The film portrayed the story of Daphne running away from Apollo, praying to the gods that she can somehow escape. Then it showed her skin becoming bark, branches growing from her fingers and hair, until finally she turned into a tree. Then the show ended with this sculpture. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that the piece I saw in that film was this sculpture by Bernini. I do know that seeing the transformation played out on screen really disturbed me. Or maybe that’s the wrong word… it fascinated me.

I think about it from time to time. I also have drawn a number of dryads and other plant people over the years. Maybe this is why. Even now I see dryads and human forms playing in the trees.

I’m starting to think I might want to draw a few plant people again.

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