Juul Kraijer (Nederlands), charcoal on paper, 2005-2007.
Daphne’s skin turns to bark, her arms are transformed into the branches of a Laurel tree, and her feet become rooted to the ground. The escape from Apollo is complete.
Apollo vows to tend the tree since he can no longer take Daphne as his wife, and uses his immortal powers to render the Laurel tree an evergreen. He promises to make crowns with the evergreen leaves of the Laurel tree to decorate the heads of leaders.
The metamorphosis of Daphne occurs while she is attempting to escape Apollo’s never-ending pursuit. Utterly exhausted, she pleads with her father the River God Peneus to allow the earth to swallow her up. Realizing that Apollo is bound to catch her, Peneus transforms Daphne into a Laurel tree.
Daphne by Dagobert Peche (Austrian, 1887-1923). Daphne, the Greek Goddess who mutates into a tree, was Peche’s muse.
Peche was greatly influenced by the works of John Ruskin and William Morris (Arts and Crafts Movement), and is still considered to be Austria’s “best ornamental genius” since the Baroque Age.
“It would be a blessing for every woman to have a presentment, then to shut them away alone with only beauty, with no sound, with heavy curtains, gold chandeliers, with candlelight now flickering gently, now flaring. I think that is where they were all born, for the batik curtain, for white-and-gold furniture, for rooms with indefinitely high ceilings, for delicate ribbons and silk.” ~ Peche