Daphne

Artist: Harriet Goodhue Hosmer (1830–1908)

Date: 1853, carved 1854

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: 27 1/2 x 19 5/8 x 12 1/2 in. (69.9 x 49.8 x 31.8 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1973

Accession Number: 1973.133

Description

In Greek mythology, Apollo’s first love was Daphne, a nymph who shunned marriage and vowed perpetual virginity. Fleeing the god, Daphne prayed for help and was transformed into a laurel tree just as he was about to overtake her. Rather than depicting the dramatic moment of escape, Hosmer modeled a serene image and symbolized Daphne’s metamorphosis by terminating the bust in laurel branches. The work is true to Hosmer’s Neoclassical training in Rome, where she was one of a number of active American women sculptors.

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