Pygmalion and Galatea

Pygmalion was a Cypriot goldsmith who was interested in sculpture; he carved a woman out of ivory. According to Ovid, after seeing the Propoetides prostituting themselves (more accurately, they denied the divinity of Venus and she thus “reduced” them to prostitution), he was “not interested in women”, but his statue was so fair and realistic that he fell in love with it.

In time, Venus’ festival day came, and Pygmalion made offerings at the altar of Venus. There, too scared to admit his desire, he quietly wished for a bride who would be “the living likeness of my ivory girl”. When he returned home, he kissed his ivory statue and found that its lips felt warm. He kissed it again, touched its breasts with his hand and found that the ivory had lost its hardness. Venus had granted Pygmalion’s wish.

Pygmalion married the ivory sculpture changed to a woman under Venus’ blessing. Together, they had a son, Paphos, from whom the island’s name is derived. (x)

Image: Pygmalion and Galatea, Jean-Leon Gerome, ca. 1890

30 Day Greek Mythology Challenge: Day 7, Pair of Lovers

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