Pygmalion and Galatea

Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Léon Gérôme

This piece of art has always captured my attention and moved me emotionally. The painting is based on the story written by the Roman poet Ovid about a sculptor, Pygmalion, creating and falling in love with his sculpture, Galatea. The goddess Aphrodite brings Galatea of life, and in the painting, right at the moment of her animation, Pygmalion can be seen embracing and kissing Galatea.

What moved me is the fact that Pygmalion loved so much that which he created. It really pushes the idea that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This piece inspired me to always remember that my art may not be beautiful to anyone else, but that does not matter as long as it is beautiful to me, the artist. I believe this can be related to Diotima’s lesson regarding spiritual offspring. Galatea as a statue was most definitely Pygmalion’s spiritual offspring, the piece that would bring him immortality as opposed to physical offspring, until of course she became physical herself. However, I believe Pygmalion would have been content with Galatea, if she had remained inanimate, being his only form of offspring, because to him she was the ultimate beauty he had created.

This piece has inspired me to always take time for art, even if it only pleases me. If what I have created is beautiful to me, then I have succeeded in the creation of art, which can also be argued is the creation of love.


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