Jean Léon Gérôme’s two versions of Pygmalion and Galatea. Right: The photograph of the sculptural version comes from The Magazine of Art XVI, 47. The photograph of the painting, whose date is 1865-70, comes from the 1981 catalogue from Louise Whitford Gallery in London. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Note the differences in the sculptural and painterly versions: (1) the statue obviously omits the entire scene in the sculptor’s studio, as well as (2) the artist’s emphasis upon color. (3) The sculptural version changes Pygmalion’s stance and (4) has him wearing sandals, and (5) whereas the painting places the his arm across Galatea’s breast, the statue moves it well below it. In addition, and perhaps more important, the two figures press closely together in the statue but are more distant in the painting. In the painting, the drapery on Pygmalion’s clothing has much more movement at the bottom than in the statue. How many of these differences arise in the needs of the medium and how many from the artist wanting to create variations? George P. Landow.

Last modified 31 March 2019