The grandeur of the epic and mystical tale of Daphne stirred my soul, inspiring me to paint a vibrant image of her story. I was captivated by Ovid’s retelling of the ancient myth Apollo & Daphne, as well as the Gnostic tradition of The Hypostasis of the Archons.
Both of these tales filled my heart with a sense of awe and reverence, and I was driven to capture their beauty and magnificence in a painting. My painting of Daphne reflects the timelessness and grandeur of these two stories, a vivid representation of the mystical and divine.
Apollo & Daphne (The Metamorphoses)
The sun-god Apollo, the mighty divinity, Chased the Naiad Nymph, Daphne, ‘cross the sky.
She, daughter of Peneus, the river Thessaly, Was famed for her beauty, so fair to the eye.
Eros, the God of Love, had been scorned by Apollo, So he shot a gold arrow and struck him with love.
In pursuit of the Nymph, Apollo had followed, But his joy soon was ended, his hopes far above.
At last, it was Peneus who answered her plea, And the Nymph was transformed into a Laurel Tree.
Her limbs seized with numbness, soft bark clothed her breast,
And the only beauty left was her treetop, a crest.
The Hypostasis of the Archons
The fable of Daphne, which dates back thousands of years, is one of helplessness and the recovery of one’s identity and volition. Daphne is not viewed as a martyr in the ancient Gnostic tradition; rather, she is viewed as a goddess of laughter and trickery who purposefully deceives her pursuers. This tale serves as a reminder that, despite force and aggressiveness, we still possess the ability to outsmart those oppressive forces.
Instead of the more conventional state of anxiety, I decided to show Daphne in my oil painting with a cheerful attitude. This was done to demonstrate her strength, wit, and capacity to assert herself in the face of hostility.
There are two ways to interpret the light in the artwork. It is a representation of Apollo, the sun deity and an oppressive power, on the one hand. On the other side, it is the life’s light, a creative and beneficial energy.
The tale of Daphne serves as a reminder that we can always fight against injustice. As Daphne did, we have the ability to outwit our opressors and find our way back to our will and identity. It is up to us to make wise use of this power and to fight hard for our own independence and autonomy.
Watch the creation of this painting on YouTube:
“A Mythic Allegory – The Triumph of Will and The Divine Feminine: The Transformation of Daphne (The Myth of Daphne and Apollo)” 100 x 150 cm, oil on linen, 2016 by Szuhodovszky Nicolas.
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