Laurel was an ancient symbol of medicine, the arts and the end of war.
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Just in time for this year’s Nobel Prize announcements, here’s how the symbolism of a plant associated with the god Apollo lives on in modern-day laureates.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne, made between 1622 and 1625.
This ancient myth, in which a nymph transforms herself into a tree to escape the lustful attention of the god Apollo, has inspired countless retellings in art. Its themes resonate today.
Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) Italy 1571–1610.
The Musicians 1597
Oil on canvas
92.1 x 118.4cm
Rogers Fund, 1952 / 52.81
Collection: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
None of us are going to be able to travel with ease to New York any time soon but this exhibition showcases the quality and depth of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection.
Titian,The Death of Actaeon (1562).
Disasters are inevitable. They should not make us give up on life, rather we should celebrate the preciousness of that life all the more.
In Ancient Greek texts, the king Lycaon is punished for misdeeds by being turned into a wolf.
The earliest surviving example of man-to-wolf transformation is found in The Epic of Gilgamesh, from around 2,100 BC. But the werewolf as we now know it first appeared in ancient Greece and Rome.
Penelope and the Suitors, by J.W. Waterhouse (1912).
It may seem incredible that some 2,500 years since the Homeric epics, women are still silenced in public. But the myths of Archaic Greece resonate today in disturbing ways.
One of the most famous attempted rapes in literature: the nymph Daphne turns into a tree to escape the god Apollo.
Apollo chasing Daphne, Cornelis de Vos, 1630.
There are calls for Ovid’s Metamorphoses to be taught with a trigger warning. This 15-book epic is a rollercoaster of a read, with moments of both delicious joy and abject depravity. Like much great art, it was not created to please.