Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

FRENCH SCHOOL.600000000000 GIRODET.00000000 PRIVATE COLLECTION.

PYGMALION AND GALATHEA.

Ovid, when relating the story of Pygmalion, says that this skilful statuary, ashamed of the prostitution to which the women of the Isle of Cyprus gave themselves up, had resolved to remain in a state of celibacy. But having made an ivory statue of great beauty, he became deeply enamoured with it, and overwhelmed it with caresses, as if it had been alive to them. The festival of Venus happening, he threw himself before the altar of that Goddess, and invoked her to grant him a wife, as highly accomplished as his statue. Venus guessed his thoughts and was willing to grant the vow he dared not express. Pygmalion returning home, approaches his beloved statue, kisses it, and thinks he feels it move. He again kisses it, the ivory appears to him to be softened: astonished, amazed, he dares not give himself up wholly to his joy, he fears to be mistaken, he again touches his statue, and the palpitation of the heart, the pulsation of the arteries, gives him the proof that his happiness is certain. Pygmalion then returns thanks to Venus, and with transport renews his caresses: but it is no longer a statue, it is a young blushing virgin, whose eyes are kindled, and who, at the same moment, receives the first impression of light and the image of an ardent lover.

This picture appeared in the exhibiton of 1819: it forms part of M. de Sommariva's Collection, and has been engraved by M. Laugier.

Height, 8 feet 3 inches; width,6 feet 6 3 inches.

PYGMALION ET GALATHÉE.

Ovide, en rapportant l'histoire de Pygmalion, raconte que cet habile statuaire, scandalisé de la prostitution à laquelle s'adonnaient les femmes de l'ile de Cypre, avait résolu de garder le célibat. Mais ayant fait une statue d'ivoire d'une grande beauté, il en devint éperdument amoureux, et l'accablait de caresses comme si elle eût pu les ressentir. La fête de Vénus étant arrivée, il se prosterna devant l'autel de la déesse, et la supplia de lui donner une femme aussi accomplie que l'était sa statue. Vénus devina sa pensée et voulut exaucer le vœu qu'il n'osait exprimer. Pygmalion, revenu chez lui, s'approche de sa chère statue, lui donne un baiser, il croit la sentir émue. Il lui donne un second baiser, l'ivoire lui semble s'amollir : étonné, interdit, il n'ose se livrer tout entier à sa joie, il craint de se tromper, il touche encore sa statue. Alors le mouvement du cœur, le battement des artères lui fournissent la preuve que son bonheur est certain.

Pygmalion rend grace alors à Vénus, puis avec transport il redouble ses caresses; mais ce n'est plus une statue, c'est une jeune vierge qui rougit, dont les yeux s'animent, et qui reçoivent en même temps l'impression de la lumière, et l'image de son tendre amant.

Ce tableau parut au salon de 1819; il fait partie du cabinet de M. de Sommariva, et a été gravé par M. Laugier.

Haut., 7 pieds 9 pouces; larg., 6 pieds 2 pouces.

« PreviousContinue »