Pygmalion and Galatea (1813-1819). Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (French, Romantic, 1767-1824). Oil on canvas. Louvre.
In Ovid’s ”Metamorphoses,” Pygmalion was a Cypriot sculptor who carved a woman out of ivory. After seeing the daughters of Propoetus prostituting themselves Pygmalion is said to have “lost interest in women,” but his statue “Galatea” was so beautiful and realistic that he fell in love with it.
Pygmalion made offerings to the statue and eventually prayed to Aphrodite, professing his love. The goddess took pity on the lovesick sculptor and brought Galatea to life. They were married and had a son, Paphos.