Théodore Chassériau (1819 – 1856)

Apollo and Daphne

Paris, 1844

Lithograph

Paper: 320 x 245 mm; mount: 555 x 405 mm

According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Daphne turned into a laurel tree to escape the clutches of the besotted god Apollo. Although Chassériau emphasises the intense emotion of the subject, he shows Daphne, despite her evident anxiety, as very much an idealised nude figure. Her awkward pose is reminiscent of those struck by life models. It reflects the artist’s formal training under Ingres, the great master of Neoclassicism, who had established an ideal nude type, chaste and sculptural, earlier in the 19th century.

Purchased in 1957 (No. 57. 6)

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