Apollo & Daphne, Bernini.

During my brief stay in Rome this summer, I visited Galleria Borghese, one of the most important art galleries in the city. It rests on top of a hill just north of the center, known as the Borghese gardens. This space – how can I explain – has a certain power to move you. At anytime of the day, you can hear a symphony of cicadas cricketing all around you. The outline of the trees that cover the park are reminiscent of a Fellini movie, one in which a dream sequence might be filmed. So in this magical, almost mythical garden, you can find a 18th century Borghese villa which holds works of art ranging from the birth of Rome to the mid 1800s. And there, in the center of one of the many rooms of this palatial home, after navigating through countless corridors lined with marble and oak, I came across and subsequently fell in love with Apollo and Daphne. These two portray a love story: Apollo, the Greek god, is struck with an arrow and falls madly in love with Daphne, an earthly creature who is in fact part human and part tree. A pillar of Baroque art, this capolavoro masters the art of movement. To any admirer, it’s possible to recognize Daphne being lifted out of her tree form by Apollo, with the illusion of wind blowing through her hair and stirring up fallen leaves. How Bernini crafted this out of a block of marble, chiseling away using only his imagination and some simple tools, continues to puzzle and astound me.

I forgot how beautiful it all was...

I forgot how beautiful it all was...

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