Apollo and Daphne

Published on 30 June 2023 at 09:48

Medium: Watercolor

Date: 1993

I believe this is probably one of my best watercolor works. Like the start of most of my images, this piece started out empty. I looked at the paper and half an hour later, I saw a big X. I looked at the X for an hour and finally saw the beginning of a figure intertwined with the X. This was a male animal figure with a quizzical expression. "What am I doing here? This is not quite working out." I saw he was trying to hold onto a female figure. I saw branches growing out of her hand. She was very scared.
I realized these figures could be Apollo and Daphne of the Greek myth. According to the myth, the god Apollo was pursuing the nymph Daphne to give her a child. She was frightened of him. What was he trying to do to her? She called for her dad, a river god, to help her. Her dad turned her into a tree on the river bank.
Well, this tree is a very nice, short, fragrant laurel tree. Apollo, god of the arts including sports, loved the tree. He took the leaves and made wreaths. These are the wreaths of laurel that crown the victors as in the Greek Olympics.
Apollo was also in charge of the Oracle of Delphi. This oracle was sacred, the center of the eastern Mediterranean world. Many rulers, political and royal, came to ask the priestess of the oracle for advice about their futures. The Oracle of Delphi was sitting in Temple of Apollo... The temple priestess was chewing on these same laurel leaves. As she chewed, she was inspired to think up one of her world-famous challenging answers. Apollo, helped by the laurel tree, was the god of these mysterious prophecies too.
In Rome, Italy, in the Villa Borghese is the legendary sculpture Apollo and Daphne by Bernini finished in 1625. With its dramatic realism, it was considered a miracle in its time and still is a miracle today.
A dear friend, Italian, and I have discussed this piece of marble. We both love it. Yes, this friend now owns this painting. And yes, Bernini was born on December 9th, the same day of the month as myself.
Another good friend and I went to a Halloween party dressed as Apollo and Daphne. This myth has been around, but no, there was nothing to ask about as to what we were wearing and I will leave that to your imagination. 


This piece is available in my Etsy shop. Take a look!

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a year ago

Is that you and mom?