Apollo pursuing Daphne


The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery, London

For the subject see Ovid, 'Metamorphoses' (1). Daphne, pursued by Apollo, cries for help to her father, the river God Peneus. He transforms her into a laurel bush as Apollo reaches her.

The fresco (transferred to canvas) comes from a series painted in the Stanza di Apollo in the garden pavilion of the Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati.

A fine compositional study in pen and ink survives (Windsor, Royal Collection). While the landscape is the finest in the series and was probably made by Domenichino himself, the authorship of the figures is less secure and may have been assigned to an assistant.

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  • Title: Apollo pursuing Daphne
  • Creator: Domenichino and assistants
  • Date Created: 1616-18
  • Physical Dimensions: 311.8 x 189.2 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Fresco, transferred to canvas and mounted on board
  • School: Italian (Bolognese)
  • Inventory number: NG6287
  • Artist Biography: Domenico Zampieri, called Domenichino, was one of the main followers of Annibale Carracci. He had probably arrived in Rome by 1602, when Annibale was working in the Palazzo Farnese. Domenichino was important as a painter of classical landscape, following Annibale. The Gallery contains a series of frescoes on mythological themes that he painted for the Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati. Domenichino was born in Bologna, and trained there under Ludovico Carracci. In Rome he was also influenced by the works of Raphael, as can be seen in his celebrated frescoes on the life of Saint Cecilia in S. Luigi dei Francesi, probably completed by 1614. He returned to Bologna in 1617, but was active again in Rome in the 1620s, before moving to Naples. Here he frescoed the Cappella del Tesoro of the cathedral in a more markedly Baroque style than his earlier work. He died in Naples in 1641. Both Poussin and Claude were influenced by his work, notably his landscapes.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bought, 1958


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