Daphne Pursued by Apollo
The Metamorphosis of Daphne
Florence, about 1450
Tempera on wood
The scenes illustrate a story from Metamorphoses written by the Roman poet Ovid.
The poem describes a series of magical transformations. In the left panel, the god Apollo pursues the nymph Daphne who has rejected his love and flees. As Apollo draws close, she begs for help to the gods and is changed into a laurel tree, in the right panel.
These two panels probably formed the ends of a decorated chest, known as a cassone. They were often used to hold a bride’s dowry goods. The panels are by two different artists from the same workshop, which would explain why Apollo wears two different costumes.
Purchased 1950 (Nos.50.7a and b)