Pygmalion and Galatea

Auguste Rodin French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 800

According to classical mythology, the sculptor Pygmalion so desired a marble woman he had carved that Venus, the goddess of love, granted her life. Rodin depicts the statue of Galatea quickening at the sculptor’s touch, her glowing body emerging from unfinished stone. Yet this Pygmalion is not the handsome youth of tradition, but rather a stocky, bearded man resembling Rodin, whose name is prominently inscribed next to the mythical sculptor’s on the side of the base. In his quest to endow his figures with living force, Rodin regarded himself as a modern Pygmalion.

Pygmalion and Galatea is one of six Rodin marbles that came to The Met in 1910 through Thomas Fortune Ryan.

Pygmalion and Galatea, Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon), Marble, French

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