So this is a story of a lonely sculptor who could never get any love, but could never find a woman beautiful enough for him. This is a story that some interpreted as petty idolatry, but now see as a fable of true love, this my friends is the story of Mannequin!
Hooray for bad 80s movies! Wooo!
But since this is a serious blog (okay it's a blog) about Greek Mythology, I thought it would be appropriate after doing the story of Medusa, who turned it's victims into stone, to do the story of Pygmalion and Galatea that tells an exact opposite tale where the statue becomes a living human being.
God I am so lonely! (Mantra of every guy ever)
In Ovid's Metamorphose, book X to be exact, there was a sculptor who lived on the island of Cyprus (which was sacred to the love goddess Aphrodite). And you know them sculptors, they like to sculpt beautiful naked women, and he made his newest masterpiece out of ivory. While walking around the city of Amathus, Pygmalion was confronted with by the Propoetides, daughters of Propoetus who denied that Aphrodite was a goddess. In punishment for their impiety, Aphrodite turned them into prostitutes (judging by other stories I have read on punishment from the gods, they got off pretty well) and it was revealed that he was not interested in women. However, that would change when he got back in his workshop and saw his ivory statue again.
Gods I guess I'm not gay!
For when he saw his recent creation, he was enamored by it. For it was so fair and realistic than any woman he had ever saw before. He became obsessed with it, but was in perpetual agony knowing that he could never have her for real. Finally, when the festival day for Aphrodite came, Pygmalion meekly prayed to his patron goddess and wished, "I sincerely wish the ivory sculpture will be changed to a real woman." He did not fully express this during the festival, but that was all Aphrodite needed, for she always loved his sculptures since they were reconstructions of the goddess. Lonely Pygmalion was about to get his wish.
Holy Shit that wish actually worked!
When he returned home he found Eros (Cupid in Roman Mythology) by the statue and kissed it on the hand. At once the cold marble began to turn into warm flesh and eventually what once was a statue was now a beautiful young maiden. Pygmalion was in love with her more than ever and it was then that Eros slipped a golden ring down her finger, signifying their love and bond. Pygmalion would then name her Galatea, beginning a long and happy marriage.
Then suddenly they saw the face of Medusa
The couple would have a son whom they named Paphos, who would go on to found the city named oddly enough Paphos. They also may have had a daughter who went by the name of Metharme. This story would be very influential in the 18th century and by the 19th century writers added a twist in which the newly animated Galatea rejects Pygmalion. If you are curious about the influence of this story, I of course recommend my #1 source, Wikipedia (what you think I look in dusty old books for my info?) So that is it for this entry, but reading how in the Middle Ages this story was seen as an example of extreme idolatry reminds me of another story that involves a pretty petty and vain character that was so full of himself that we use his name to describe self-centered douchebags.