Jean-Leon Gerome (French, 1824-1904)

Pygmalion and Galeta
Oil on Canvas, 35 x 27 in.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York
Pygmalion and Galeta
Oil on Canvas, 35 x 27 in.
The Bridgemen Art Library

The Story of Pygmalion and Galeta:
Like many Greek myths, the story of Pygmalion and Galatea has slightly different versions. Pygmalion , King of Cyprus, in the most familiar of these versions created a lifelike statue of his ideal of womanhood. The statue which he called Galatea was so beautiful that he fell in love with his own creation. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Beauty and Love, took pity on the lovesick Pygmalion. She turned Galatea into a living woman and presided over the marriage of the two. The story is the subject of these nineteenth century paintings by Jean Leon Gerome. The story also inspired George Bernard Shaw to create Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, the Pygmalion and Galatea of his play "Pygmalion." That play in turn was the basis of the popular musical, "My Fair Lady."

The Artist:
Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904). French painter and sculptor. He was a pupil of Paul Delaroche and inherited his highly finished academic style. Gerome travelled widely in Turkey, Egypt and North Africa. A sculptor as well as a painter, his female figures have the same classical precision of Ingres, but are in much more realistic poses. His best-known works are his oriental scenes. Two typical examples are in the Wallace Collection, London. They won Gerome great popularity and he had considerable influence as an upholder of academic tradition and enemy of progressive trends in art. He was not a big fan of Impressionist art.

Other Work By the Artist:
Police Verso (Thumbs Down) - 1872
Oil on Canvas, 100.5 x 148.8 cm
Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix, Arizona
Phryne The Moorish Bath
Museum of Fine Art

Links to the Artist:
CJFA - Jean Leon Gerome
Jean Leon Gerome Links

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