For other uses, see Pygmalion (disambiguation).
|Occupation||King and sculptor|
|Spouse||An ivory sculpture|
Though Pygmalion is the Greek version of the Phoenician royal name Pumayyaton, he is most familiar from Ovid's narrative poem Metamorphoses, in which Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved.
In book 10 of Ovid's Metamorphoses, Pygmalion was a Cypriot sculptor who carved a woman out of ivory.
According to Ovid, after seeing the Propoetides prostituting themselves, Pygmalion declared that he was "not interested in women", but then found his statue was so beautiful and realistic that he fell in love with it.
In time, Aphrodite's festival day came, and Pygmalion made offerings at the altar of Aphrodite.
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, and found that the ivory had lost its hardness.
Aphrodite had granted Pygmalion's wish.
Pygmalion married the ivory sculpture which changed to a woman under Aphrodite's blessing.
In Ovid's narrative, they had a daughter, Paphos, from whom the city's name is derived.
In some versions Paphos was a son, and they also had a daughter, Metharme.
Ovid's mention of Paphos suggests that he was drawing on a more circumstantial account than the source for a passing mention of Pygmalion in Pseudo-Apollodorus' Bibliotheke, a Hellenic mythography of the 2nd-century AD.
In the story of Dido, Pygmalion is an evil king.
Parallels in Greek myth
The story of the breath of life in a statue has parallels in the examples of Daedalus, who used quicksilver to install a voice in his statues; of Hephaestus, who created automata for his workshop; of Talos, an artificial man of bronze; and (according to Hesiod) of Pandora, who was made from clay at the behest of Zeus.
The trope of a sculpture so lifelike that it seemed about to move was a commonplace with writers on works of art in antiquity.
This trope was inherited by writers on art after the Renaissance.
- Hidari Jingorō
- Pygmalion and the Image series
- Pygmalion effect
- Pygmalion of Tyre
- Uncanny valley
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion (mythology).