Daphné (Daphne)

Julio González

Barcelona, Spain, 1876 - Arcueil, France, 1942
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
  • Technique: 
    Patinated and lost-wax casting
  • Dimensions: 
    142,2 x 68 x 31,5 cm
  • Edition/serial number: 
    Nominative copy
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Observations: 
    Entry date: 1988 (from the redistribution of the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] collection)
  • Register number: 
  • Donation of Roberta González, 1973

In his artistic maturity, Julio González became more involved in the process of investigating the effects of light on the figure, which implicitly meant total immersion in the very essence of sculpture as the art of space and material, and consequently in abstraction. The sculpture Daphné (Daphne) applies this new language, so close to the non-figurative, to a classical motif from the myths collected in Ovid’s Metamorphoses: the nymph who turns into a laurel tree to get away from the god Apollo. From a technical point of view, taking on the myth of Daphne represents a sculptural challenge, which it has done since Bernini’s Baroque sculpture group, since it needs to show a person undergoing transformation between two natural worlds, human and plant, a metamorphic nature that González developed in other works of the same period, such as his Hombres cactus (Cactus Men), the line of which is markedly expressionist. Daphné, along with other masterpieces like La Montserrat and Mujer ante el espejo, also from 1937, is an example of the combination of González’s radical linguistic and technical innovation with the humanist nature of a sculpture that always retained its links to classical western tradition.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio