Artist: Harriet Goodhue Hosmer (1830–1908)
Date: 1853, carved 1854
Dimensions: 27 1/2 x 19 5/8 x 12 1/2 in. (69.9 x 49.8 x 31.8 cm)
Credit Line: Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1973
Accession Number: 1973.133
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.