The painting “Apollo and Daphne”, preserved in the Louvre, and remained unfinished, is the last work of the painter Nicolas Poussin and can rightfully be considered a form of the covenant, a reflection of the artist of his personal life.
The artist chooses a special moment in the myth retold by Ovid, where Cupid proves his strength by aiming at Daphne with the help of the first blunt arrow loaded with lead.
It was the reading of Ovid, as well as other ancient authors, that provided Poussin with material for this final composition. Apollo, the god of fertility and life, sits on the left; he is in love with Daphne, visible in the far right corner, holding his father, the Penay River, with his own hands. This love will fail, because when Apollo wants to reunite with Daphne after a long persecution, she will turn into a laurel.
The picture outplayes the dispute between Apollo and Cupid, which of them is the best archer. Apollo sits and looks startled with the love of Daphne, which is in front of him. Between them and him lay naked nymphs at the edge of the water, one of them squeezes wet hair.
Apollo has just killed Python and is watching. Daphne will soon be struck by a dull and heavy arrow, which will make her want to flee from the sun god and will not allow her to fall in love with him. However, Apollo hopes to pierce with a thin arrow with a gold tip, which will make him a girl's lover.
Mercury, Apollo's younger brother, went up to Apollo to steal an arrow from his quiver. And in the back, guarded by two dogs, a herd of Apollo is captured, which will also be stolen by Mercury.
The gesture of Mercury has not only mythological, but also astronomical significance. After all, this planet is closest to the sun and constantly steals its rays.
Apollo looks at the nymphs, but does not run after Daphne. Indeed, not being Cupid's goal, he cannot be distracted at this point in history to such an extent that he does not notice what is happening on his side, and yet Poussin presents it as well.
During the implementation of this work, Poussin, having lost his wife due to a long illness, is already thinking of writing a will, which he will review shortly before his death. Therefore, the composition does not have the last brush strokes due to powerlessness and trembling hands of the artist before death. The creator shortly before his death bequeathed the work to Cardinal Camille Massini, realizing that he could not complete it.