PYGMALION & GALATEA
(A Love Story)
Galatea comes to life!
Pygmalion - painting by the great Boris Vallejo

PYGMALION & GALATEA

In ancient Greece lived a handsome and talented sculptor named Pygmalion. He loved his work and would spend hours carving beautiful ivory statues, always at his happiest when immersed in his art.

One day he chose a large, beautiful piece of ivory, and worked for many long hours at it, chiseling and hammering until he finished. It was a statue of a beautiful lady. Pygmalion at once fell in love with his creation - he thought it was so beautiful, and he clothed the figure, gave it jewels, and named it Galatea, which means "sleeping love". Treating Galatea as if she were his girlfriend, he brought his ivory statue shells and pebbles, little birds and flowers of all colors. He was obsessed!

Now, you must understand that Pygmalion was so into his art that he had vowed never to marry. He had no time for girls, just his sculptures. Still, the more he gazed upon Galatea, the more he wished that he had a wife just like her, but alive.

During a big festival in honor of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, Pygmalion went to the temple of Aphrodite to pray for a wife just like the statue in his home. His prayers were so fervent and heart-felt, and his passion so great, that the great goddess took notice.

Wanting to see for herself what all the fuss was about, Aphrodite visited the home of the sculptor and was delighted to see the ivory Galatea. She couldn't help but think that the statue looked much like herself, it was so perfect. Pleased and flattered she brought the statue to life.

When the sculptor returned home and kissed Galatea as was his custom, he was startled at her warmth. As he showered her with kisses he was beside himself with joy at discovering that slowly the ivory was turning into flesh. Galatea smiled down at him and spoke adoring words to her loving creator.

They soon got married and Aphrodite was the guest of honor at their wedding. Pygmalion didn’t forget to thank Aphrodite for his good fortune. He and Galatea brought gifts to her altar as long as they lived. Aphrodite blessed them with happiness and love in return, and permitted both of them to live long and blissful lives. They had two daughters named Paphos and Metharme.

This is written by Thomas Bullfinch

Pygmalion saw so much to blame in women that he came at last to abhor the sex, and resolved to live unmarried. He was a sculptor, and had made with wonderful skill a statue of ivory, so beautiful that no living woman came anywhere near it. It was indeed the perfect semblance of a maiden that seemed to be alive, and only prevented from moving by modesty.

His art was so perfect that it concealed itself and its product looked like the workmanship of nature. Pygmalion admired his own work, and at last fell in love with the counterfeit creation. Oftentimes he laid his hand upon it as if to assure himself whether it were living or not, and could not even then believe that it was only ivory. He caressed it, and gave it presents such as young girls love, - bright shells and polished stones, little birds and flowers of various hues, beads and amber. He put raiment on its limbs, and jewels on its fingers, and a necklace about its neck. To the ears he hung earrings, and strings of pearls upon the breast. Her dress became her, and she looked not less charming than when unattired. He laid her on a couch spread with cloths of Tyrian dye, and called her his wife, and put her head upon a pillow of the softest feathers, as if she could enjoy their softness.

The festival of Venus (Aphrodite) was at hand - a festival celebrated with great pomp at Cyprus. Victims were offered, the altars smoked, and the odour of incense filled the air. When Pygmalion had performed his part in the solemnities, he stood before the altar and timidly said, "Ye gods, who can do all things, give me, I pray you, for my wife" - he dared not say "my ivory virgin," but said instead - "one like my ivory virgin."

Venus (Aphrodite), who was present at the festival, heard him and knew the thought he would have uttered; and as an omen of her favour, caused the flame on the altar to shoot up thrice in a fiery point into the air. When he returned home, he went to see his statue, and leaning over the couch, gave a kiss to the mouth. It seemed to be warm. He pressed its lips again, he laid his hand upon the limbs; the ivory felt soft to his touch and yielded to his fingers like the wax of Hymettus.

While he stands astonished and glad, though doubting, and fears he may be mistaken, again and again with a lover's ardor he touches the object of his hopes. It was indeed alive! The veins when pressed yielded to the finger and again resumed their roundness. Then at last the votary of Venus found words to thank the goddess, and pressed his lips upon lips as real as his own. The virgin felt the kisses and blushed, and opening her timid eyes to the light, fixed them at thesame moment on her lover. Venus blessed the nuptials she had formed, and from this union Paphos was born, from whom the city, sacred to Venus, received its name.

Wasn't that sweet? Good luck on your projects.

 

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