Apollo and Daphne
Jakob Auer (ca. 1645 - 1706)
Vienna, before 1688
In his Metamorphoses, Ovid tells of the nymph Daphne, who eluded the desires of the sun god Apollo by turning herself into a laurel tree (Greek daphne, laurel). The two-figure group depicts the beginning of this transformation. In travel reports from the Baroque period, this virtuoso piece of carving was already considered a major work of the Viennese imperial treasury.
But there was in Thranduil’s heart a still deeper shadow. He had seen the horror of Mordor and could not forget it. If ever he looked south its memory dimmed the light of the Sun, and though he knew that it was now broken and deserted and under the vigilance of the Kings of Men, fear spoke in his heart that it was not conquered for ever: it would arise again.
J.R.R. Tolkien: Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth