"Apollo and Daphne" painting

Essay by mehlongma March 2006

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"Apollo and Daphne" is a Greek myth about tainted love. There are many paintings and sculptures on the subject of Apollo and Daphne. The particular one I am focusing on is the painting by Antonio del Pollaiuolo. This artist was born and died in the 15th Century. He was an Italian artist during the Renaissance. In his works you can notice classical influences. "...his female portraits exhibit calmness and a meticulous attention to detail of fashion as was the norm in the late 15th century portraiture."

In this particular late 15th century (around 1470-80) piece Apollo is on the viewers left and Daphne is on the right. This painting was composed using Oil on wood and it is 29.5 x 20 cm. The way Pollaiuolo painted Apollo's leg up in the air shows that there is motion. Also a piece of his clothing is shown flapping behind him.

So it seems like he is running. He has very soft features and his clothing is very much of the Renaissance period. He is looking up to Daphne with an expression showing a mix of hope, and desire. His arms are around her hoping to keep her with him as long as possible. Both of Daphne's arms have transformed into parts of a tree. There is a landscape far off in the distance behind them. The repetition of the two trees makes the composition strong. The way his legs and the river seem to point toward Daphne shows it had deep consideration to make her the main subject. She is in the middle and everything else behind her and Apollo are lighter in value.

In the Greek Myth it says that Cupid's ego got hurt when Apollo said to him that bows and arrows should be left to...