Study Guide

Apollo and Daphne Context

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It's an oldie but a goodie. The Greek myth of "Apollo and Daphne" has been told and retold for thousands of years. The Roman poet Ovid's version, which is included in his Metamorphoses, is probably the most famous, but it is far from the only one. Petrarch, Garcilaso, Quevado, and countless others have all put their own spin on the tale. The story has also been alluded to in the work of other great writers, like Byron and Shakespeare.

The myth has inspired other artists as well. In fact, it inspired an entirely new art form –Dafne by Jacopo Peri is said to be the first opera ever written. Peri composed the piece in an attempt to recreate Greek tragedy. He didn't quite manage that, but he did manage to change the art world forever by inventing opera. Handel, Strauss, and others also wrote operas based on the story.

Let us also not forget the world of visual art. Apollo and Daphne's tale is the subject of an amazing sculpture by the Italian sculptor Bernini. A huge number of painters have also taken up the challenge – Poussin, Pollaiuolo, and Waterhouse to name a few. It seems like there's just something about this myth that people just can't get enough of. Were guessing that it's going to continue to pop up in new forms for years to come.

(Psst. Want to check out some of the art that's been inspired by the story of "Apollo and Daphne"? Head on over to "Best of the Web" and "Photos.")

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