“He carved his snow-white ivory
With marvelous triumphant artistry
And gave it perfect shape…
Fired him with love.”
(Ovid, Metamorphoses, X.245-8)
We are told in Greek mythology that Pygmalion, the King of Cyprus,
became disillusioned with women. He sculpted a woman imbued
with every property of utmost beauty that he found desirable.
was he in his art that the statue seemed to him alive, and
he fell in love with it. On the day of the festival of Venus,
goddess of love, Pygmalion entreated her to breathe life into
his work. Venus granted his wish.
Porcelain Group of Pygmalion and Galatea
Sèvres factory, Sèvres,
France. British Museum: