After Apollo foolishly taunts Eros (Cupid) and makes fun of his archery skills, Eros demonstrates his power of love by striking Apollo with an attraction arrow and Daphne with a repellant arrow. Apollo chases Daphne for he now loves her, but Daphne wants nothing to do with him. As she flees from her pursuer, she prays for help to keep Apollo away from her. This painting depicts the transformation of Daphne into the laurel tree as she flees from Apollo. Still in love with Daphne, he kisses her bark and proclaims, “If you can’t be my wife, you shall be my tree.” Thus the laurel tree became a symbol of Apollo. His head is that of a white raven’s, which was also a symbol of Apollo.
Tags: Greek mythology myth watercolor tree laurel white raven bird roots leaves anthromorphic anthro