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Lot 9

After Bernini: An impressive carved white marble group of Apollo and Daphne

mid 19th century
124cm high
on revolving black veined marble pedestal
93cm high

Estimate: £12,000 - £18,000
Hammer price: £22,000
Bidding ended. Lot has been sold.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini,  1598 –1680 was an Italian sculptor and architect. While a major figure in the world of architecture, he was more prominently the leading sculptor of his age, credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture.

The original of his  marble group of Apollo and Daphne was executed between 1622 and 1625 and is housed in the Galleria Borghese in Rome.  It was the last of a number of artworks commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, early in Bernini's career. The work depicts the climax of the story of Apollo and Daphne (Phoebus and Daphne) in Ovid's Metamorphoses.

This iconic work introduced an entirely new sculptural aesthetic and is widely admired as one of the great masterpieces that ushered in the Baroque period in sculpture. He depicts the moment Daphne turns into a tree in a clever play on the sculptural medium.

For the last and most ambitious of Bernini’s iconic mythological groups, the artist naturally found his inspiration in Antiquity, turning to the renowned Apollo Belvedere which stood in the Vatican. The skill of Bernini’s transformation of the pose adopted by the antique is truly astounding, endowing his model with great energy and dynamism, whilst capturing the god’s shock and breathlessness at the end of the chase.

Baldinucci’s biography of Bernini describes how immediately after the marble was finished, ‘such acclamation arose that all Rome rushed to view it as though it were a miracle.’ This rapturous response to Bernini’s group as a divine relic is echoed in the morality of its accompanying Latin inscription:

The lover who would fleeting beauty clasp plucks bitter fruit; dry leaves are all he’ll grasp.

Garden ornament

Condition: Fingers of Apollos right hand broken but they're old bad restoration.  Surface lightly dirty otherwise good very minor marks and scratches.

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