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Apollo and Daphne “Meraviglie”

Bernini began carving Apollo and Daphne in 1622 and the marble sculpture became the artist’s first great public triumph. Only 23years old, the sculptor had captured motion, transformation, sexual appetite, and terror in an incredible way that manages to impress viewers until today. 

In his biography, “Life of Gian Lorenzo Bernini” (1682) art historian Filippo Baldinucci describes Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne as a “meraviglie” (marvels) that “displayed in every part to the eyes of all”.

Baldinucci goes on to define the statue’s reception: “Immediately when it was seen to have been finished, there arose such a cry [se ne sparse un tal grido] that all Rome concurred in seeing it as a miracle [tutta Roma concorse a vederla per un miracolo…” Apollo and Daphne remains impressive for both its exquisite mastery and its significant subject: the chase of a woman, by a man who won’t take no for an answer.

Apollo and Daphne - Imperium Est