Forever entwined

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
  • Baucis and Philemon

    If I were to put together a ‘hidden tour’ of Melbourne, this sculpture would be on it for sure. Tucked away down a narrow city laneway above the door of a very expensive and exclusive venue, is this impressive sculpture. On its own, the artwork is undoubtedly beautiful, but it also has a great backstory.

    The couple who are entwined together as trees are Baucis and Philemon, “emblems of enduring romance.” Their presence above the outlandishly expensive and fabulously opulent Baroqhouse in Melbourne is somewhat ironic given that according to legend, Baucis and Philemon were once humble servants to weary and needy travelers, whom nobody else would grant shelter. It’s hard to imagine this exclusive venue doing anything for the weary apart from perhaps looking out of the window at them.

    So to continue the legend, when two beneficiaries of Baucis and Philemon’s goodness turned out to be Roman Gods, Jupiter and Mercury disguised in human form, the couple were blessed with prosperous last years and a peaceful shared death, by which they became trees, forever entwined.