12 Artworks Where People Turn Into Trees & Trees Turn Into People

In Greek and Roman mythology, Daphne was a nymph whose beauty attracted the attention of the god of music, poetry and a bunch of other things: Apollo. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Apollo falls in love with her because the god of love, Eros, wants to get back at him for making fun of his archery skills (a little much right?). He shoots Apollo in the heart with an arrow made of gold to make him fall in love, and he shoots Daphne with a lead arrow to incite hate, pitting the two against each other and driving Apollo crazy. Eventually Apollo is chasing Daphne so she calls out to her mother Gai who rescues her by transforming her into a laurel tree.

But that’s not the only ancient tale about people turning into trees. Ovid tells another story in Metamorphoses VIII about an old couple, Baucis and Philemon, who were the only ones in the town to invite the disguised gods, Zeus (Greek)/Jupiter (Roman) and Hermes/Mercury, into their home even though they were much poorer than their neighbors. They were taken up to a mountain by the gods, who flooded the town once they were safe, and their house was transformed into a temple. They were made the guardians of the temple, and were also granted their request to die at the same time as the other. When they did die, they was transformed into a pair of intertwining trees, one oak and one linden.

But from the looks of it, there are probably a lot more reasons why people turn into trees. Maybe trees can even turn into people, Pocahontas-style.

1. Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison‘s “Winter Arm”





2. “paciencia” by Deerl





 3. “Apollo and Daphne” by 





4. artist unknown





5. “Apollo Pursuing Daphne” by Birney Quick (1912-1981)





6. by Andrea

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 11.41.18 PM




7. “Philemon and Baucis” by Matheus Jean, 1619

Philemon and Baucis, from an edition of the Metamorphoses of Ovid, published in Paris in 1619, (engraving)




8. Beatriz Martin Vidal‘s “Daphne and Apollo

tree4 source.



9. artist unknown





10. Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s “Apollo and Daphne,” 1622-1625





11.  artist unknown





12. “Baucis and Philemon,” artist unknown




Know any of the artists featured above? Is your work up there? Email me and let me know!

And if you have your own transforming tree art to add, please comment!


Beatriz Martin Vidal’s Beautiful Children

vidal 1 birgit_01

Artist and illustrator Beatriz Martin Vidal draws children in such an incredible way, highlighting their purity and innocence with simple shadows and sharp colors. The arresting colors – the ones that really make your eyes pull the car over – are usually only applied to flowers and other visual accessories, contrasting with the child and his monochrome background in a meaningful way – suggesting connections between youth and vitality while always maintaining a somber undertone about how fleeting all of it is anyway.

This collection is titled “birgit” in Vidal’s gallery of novel illustratons, and here she uses these stunning bright blue flowers to metaphorically encircle the beautiful children. Here they’re drawn in white tank tops with disheveled hair, creating a link to poverty and want – two things a child should never have to experience for herself.

In this first work the flowers cover the little boy’s eyes, stemming from a bandage at the back of his head, creating a blindfold on everything outside his own imagination, protecting him from whatever caused the need for a bandage in the first place.

In the second we see what to me looks like a little girl’s face, although her hair is cut short just past her ears. She sits, eyes closed, holding her face in her hands with eyelids tinted gold, as the bright blue flowers blossom and cascade down her forehead.

In the third work, a little boy stands with his back to us, holding his bunny/sheep stuffed animal close to his chest with his head cast down toward it. The flowers creep up his back, vines growing up from the depths and encircling his tiny frame.

In the last illustration the flowers have almost whisked the whole child away to someplace safer, only her face still peeking through the petals, turned up towards the sky with eyes closed and an expression of gratitude and peace.

vidal 2 birgit_02 vidal 3 vidal 4 birgit_05

See more of Beatriz Martin Vidal’s work on her website here