Pygmalion and Galatea (Gérôme painting)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Pygmalion and Galatea (Pygmalion et Galatée) is an 1890 painting by the French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme. The motif is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses, and depicts how the sculptor Pygmalion kisses his ivory statue Galatea, after the goddess Aphrodite has brought her to life.


Jean-Léon Gérôme painted Pygmalion and Galatea in the summer of 1890. In 1891 he made a marble sculpture of the same subject, possibly based on a plaster version also used as model for the painting. He made several alternative versions of the painting, each presenting the subject from a different angle.


The most famous version, where Galatea is seen from behind, was bought by Boussod, Valadon & Cie on 22 March 1892, who sold it on April 7, for 17,250 FFR, to Charles T. Yerkes. After his death it was sold several times until it was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Louis C. Raegner in 1927. The other versions are in private collections or lost.

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