Giovanni Battista Tiepolo: Apollo Pursuing Daphne

Apollo Pursuing Daphne: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Painted between 1755 and 1760, Apollo Pursuing Daphne is a mythological painting by Italian Rococo artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

Analysis of Tiepolo’s Apollo Pursuing Daphne

Apollo, the god of poetry, wisdom, and archery, was shot by a golden arrow, and Daphne, the woodland nymph, with a lead arrow by an offended Eros.

This caused the pursuit of Daphne by Apollo and Daphne’s flight from him. After begging her father, Peneus, to transform her to finally evade Apollo, Daphne is changed into a laurel tree. Tiepolo paints this moment, with a bewildered Apollo observing the branching of Daphne’s limbs.

Daphne is partially clothed in a white robe symbolizing her chastity while Apollo is robed and crowned in the gold of the sun. After Daphne’s transformation, Apollo paid tribute to her by ever after wearing a laurel wreath which Tiepolo includes.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s Apollo Pursuing Daphne is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

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