I've been lucky enough to have traveled to Rome four times now. That has meant multiple trips to the Borghese. And that has meant multiple viewings of works by Bernini. I'm going to take my smart-ass hat off for a second -- which makes me feel strangely uncomfortable (I know, big surprise) -- and write down what I always think whenever I view Bernini generally and his Apollo and Daphne in particular: I can't believe that a human being did this...a human being in his 20's, no less. What started as a big, rough hunk of marble, became an impossibly delicate, impossibly balanced, impossibly active masterpiece of remarkable power and beauty. I imagine Bernini musing that marble simply can't be rendered so thinly that one can see light through the finished product, and that a marble statue can't possibly stand with such gaping holes carved out of the center of the once big, hulking stone. And then he proceeded to achieve the impossible.
And, honestly, these pictures don't begin to do justice to the real thing...
|This is friggin' marble...|
If you're interested in the myth behind the sculpture, here it is. Long story short, Daphne is in the midst of being transformed into a tree in order to escape Apollo's unwanted advances. Why would anyone want go to such lengths to ward off the god of, among other things, light, knowledge, music, poetry, and the sun? Click on the link.
If you're interested in Bernini, come to Rome.