Pygmalion (mythology)
Pygmalion is a legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

ary figure of Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. Though Pygmalion is the Greek version of the Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n royal name Pumayyaton, he is most familiar from Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

's Metamorphoses, X
Metamorphoses (poem)
Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem in fifteen books by the Roman poet Ovid describing the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework. Completed in AD 8, it is recognized as a masterpiece of Golden Age Latin literature...

, in which Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved.

In Ovid

In Ovid's narrative, Pygmalion was a Cypriot
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 sculptor who carved a woman out of ivory. According to Ovid, after seeing the Propoetides
The Propoetides are in Greek mythology the daughters of Propoetus from the city of Amathus on the island of Cyprus. In Roman literature they are treated by Ovid in his Metamorphoses :...

 prostituting themselves (more accurately, they denied the divinity of Venus and she thus ‘reduced’ them to prostitution), he was 'not interested in women', but his statue was so fair and realistic that he fell in love with it.

In time, Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

's festival day came, and Pygmalion made offerings at the altar of Venus. There he quietly wished that his ivory sculpture would be changed to a real woman. When he returned home, he kissed his ivory statue and found that its lips felt warm. He kissed it again and touched her breasts with his hand and found that the ivory lost its hardness. Venus had granted Pygmalion's wish.

Pygmalion married the ivory sculpture changed to a woman under Venus’ blessing. Together, they had a son, Paphos, from whom the island's name is derived:
In some versions they also had a daughter, Metharme.

Ovid's mention of Paphos suggests that he was drawing on a more circumstantial account than the source for a passing mention of Pygmalion in Pseudo-Apollodorus' Bibliotheke, a Hellenic mythography of the 2nd-century AD. Perhaps he drew on the lost narrative by Philostephanus
Philostephanus of Cyrene was a Hellenistic writer from North Africa, who was a pupil of the poet Callimachus in Alexandria and doubtless worked there during the 3rd century BC....

 that was paraphrased by Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

. Pygmalion is the Greek version of the Phoenician royal name Pumayyaton and figures in the founding legend of Paphos
Paphos , sometimes referred to as Pafos, is a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus and the capital of Paphos District. In antiquity, two locations were called Paphos: Old Paphos and New Paphos. The currently inhabited city is New Paphos. It lies on the Mediterranean coast, about west of the...

 in Cyprus.

Parallels in Greek myth

The story of the breath of life in a statue has parallels in the examples of Daedalus
In Greek mythology, Daedalus was a skillful craftsman and artisan.-Family:...

, who used quicksilver
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 to install a voice in his statues; of Hephaestus
Hephaestus was a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods - or else, according to some accounts, of Hera alone. He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes...

, who created automata
An automaton is a self-operating machine. The word is sometimes used to describe a robot, more specifically an autonomous robot. An alternative spelling, now obsolete, is automation.-Etymology:...

 for his workshop; of Talos
In Greek mythology, Talos or Talon was a giant man of bronze who protected Europa in Crete from pirates and invaders by circling the island's shores three times daily while guarding it.- History :...

, an artificial man of bronze; and, according to Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

, Pandora
In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts...

, who was made from clay at the behest of Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...


The moral anecdote of the "Apega of Nabis
Apega of Nabis
The Apega of Nabis, also known as the Iron Apega, was described by Polybius as an ancient torture device similar to the iron maiden. It was invented by Nabis, a king who ruled Sparta as a tyrant from 207 to 192 BC.-Device description:...

", recounted by the historian Polybius
Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

, described a supposed mechanical simulacrum of the tyrant's wife, that crushed victims in her embrace.

The discovery of the Antikythera mechanism
Antikythera mechanism
The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient mechanical computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900–1901 from the Antikythera wreck. Its significance and complexity were not understood until decades later. Its time of construction is now estimated between 150 and 100...

 suggests that such rumoured animated statues had some grounding in contemporary mechanical technology. The island of Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 was particularly known for its displays of mechanical engineering and automata - Pindar
Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

, one of the nine lyric poets
Nine lyric poets
The nine lyric poets were a canon of archaic Greek composers esteemed by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria as worthy of critical study.They were:*Alcman of Sparta...

 of ancient Greece, said this of Rhodes in his seventh Olympic Ode:

"The animated figures stand

Adorning every public street

And seem to breathe in stone, or

move their marble feet."

The trope
Trope (literature)
A literary trope is the usage of figurative language in literature, or a figure of speech in which words are used in a sense different from their literal meaning...

 of a sculpture so lifelike it seemed about to move was a commonplace with writers on works of art in Antiquity that was inherited by writers on art after the Renaissance.

Re-interpretations of Pygmalion

The basic Pygmalion story has been widely transmitted and re-presented in the arts through the centuries. At an unknown date, later authors give as the name of the statue that of the sea-nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

Galatea (mythology)
-Name "Galatea":Though the name "Galatea" has become so firmly associated with Pygmalion's statue as to seem antique, its use in connection with Pygmalion originated with a post-classical writer. No extant ancient text mentions the statue's name...

 or Galathea. Goethe calls her Elise, based upon the variants in the story of Dido/Elissa.

In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 Pygmalion was held up as an example of the excesses of idolatry
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although...

, probably spurred by Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

's suggestion that Pygmalion had carved an image of Aphrodite herself. However, by the 18th century it was a highly influential love-story, seen as such in Rousseau's musical play of the story. By the 19th century, the story often becomes one in which the awakened beloved rejects Pygmalion; although she comes alive, she is initially cold and unattainable.

A twist on this theme can also be seen in the story of Pinocchio
The Adventures of Pinocchio is a novel for children by Italian author Carlo Collodi, written in Florence. The first half was originally a serial between 1881 and 1883, and then later completed as a book for children in February 1883. It is about the mischievous adventures of Pinocchio , an...

where a wooden puppet is transformed into a real boy, though in this case the puppet possesses sentience prior to its transformation; it is the puppet and not the woodcarver (sculptor) who beseeches the miracle.

William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, in the final scene of The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale is a play by William Shakespeare, originally published in the First Folio of 1623. Although it was grouped among the comedies, some modern editors have relabelled the play as one of Shakespeare's late romances. Some critics, among them W. W...

(c1611), presents what appears to be a tomb effigy
An effigy is a representation of a person, especially in the form of sculpture or some other three-dimensional form.The term is usually associated with full-length figures of a deceased person depicted in stone or wood on church monuments. These most often lie supine with hands together in prayer,...

 of Hermione that is revealed as Hermione herself, bringing the play to a conclusion of reconciliations.

George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

 wrote a play titled "Pygmalion
Pygmalion (play)
Pygmalion: A Romance in Five Acts is a play by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador's garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of...

". In Shaw's play, the girl is brought to life by two men in speech — the goal for their masterpiece is for her to marry and become a duchess. It has an interesting spin on the original story and has a subtle hint of feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...



The story has been the subject of notable paintings by Agnolo Bronzino, Jean-Léon Gérôme
Jean-Léon Gérôme
Jean-Léon Gérôme was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects, bringing the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax.-Life:Jean-Léon Gérôme was born...

, Honoré Daumier
Honoré Daumier
Honoré Daumier was a French printmaker, caricaturist, painter, and sculptor, whose many works offer commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century....

, Edward Burne-Jones
Edward Burne-Jones
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company...

 (four major works from 1868–1870, then again in larger versions from 1875–1878), Auguste Rodin
Auguste Rodin
François-Auguste-René Rodin , known as Auguste Rodin , was a French sculptor. Although Rodin is generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, he did not set out to rebel against the past...

, Ernest Normand
Ernest Normand
Ernest Normand was a notable painter in Victorian England. He painted history and orientalist paintings, and also undertook portraits. His work was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites.In 1884 he married the painter Henrietta Rae...

, Paul Delvaux
Paul Delvaux
Paul Delvaux was a Belgian painter, associated with Surrealism, famous for his paintings of female nudes.-Biography:...

, Francisco Goya
Francisco Goya
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era...

, Franz von Stuck, François Boucher
François Boucher
François Boucher was a French painter, a proponent of Rococo taste, known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes, decorative allegories representing the arts or pastoral occupations, intended as a sort of two-dimensional furniture...

, and Thomas Rowlandson
Thomas Rowlandson
Thomas Rowlandson was an English artist and caricaturist.- Biography :Rowlandson was born in Old Jewry, in the City of London. He was the son of a tradesman or city merchant. On leaving school he became a student at the Royal Academy...

, among others. There have also been numerous sculptures of the "awakening".


Ovid's Pygmalion has inspired several works of literature. Popularity for the Pygmalion myth surged in the 19th century.

Poems, sorted by year and country of author's origin.

  • John Marston
    John Marston
    John Marston was an English poet, playwright and satirist during the late Elizabethan and Jacobean periods...

    's "Pigmalion", in "The Argument of the Poem" and "The Authour in prayse of his precedent Poem." (1598)
  • John Dryden
    John Dryden
    John Dryden was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden.Walter Scott called him "Glorious John." He was made Poet...

    's poem "Pygmalion and the Statue" (1697–1700)
  • Thomas Lovell Beddoes
    Thomas Lovell Beddoes
    Thomas Lovell Beddoes was an English poet, dramatist and physician.- Biography :Born in Clifton, Bristol, England, he was the son of Dr. Thomas Beddoes, a friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Anna, sister of Maria Edgeworth. He was educated at Charterhouse and Pembroke College, Oxford...

    's Pygmalion, or the Cyprian Statuary (1823–25)
  • Robert Browning
    Robert Browning
    Robert Browning was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets.-Early years:...

    's My Last Duchess
    My Last Duchess
    "My Last Duchess" is a poem by Robert Browning, frequently anthologized as an example of the dramatic monologue. It first appeared in 1842 in Browning's Dramatic Lyrics.-Poem structure and historical background:...

  • William Cox Bennett's poem "Pygmalion" from his work Queen Eleanor's Vengeance and Other Poems
    Queen Eleanor's Vengeance and Other Poems
    A written by William Cox Bennett, consisting of thirty-four poems printed on 232 pages, published in 1857. The eponymous poem "Queen Eleanor's Vengeance" that appears on page 1 is also included in many other books by Bennett, such as:-page 61 of...

  • Arthur Henry Hallam's poem "Lines Spoken in the Character of Pygmalion" from his work Remains in verse and prose of Arthur Henry Hallam: With a preface and memoir (1863)
  • Robert Buchanan
    Robert Williams Buchanan
    Robert Williams Buchanan was a Scottish poet, novelist and dramatist.- Early life and education :He was the son of Robert Buchanan , Owenite lecturer and journalist, and was born at Caverswall, Staffordshire, England...

    's poem "Pygmalion the Sculptor" in his work Undertones (1864)
  • William Morris
    William Morris
    William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement...

    's poem "Earthly Paradise" in which he includes the section "Pygmalion and the Image" (1868)
  • William Bell Scott
    William Bell Scott
    William Bell Scott was a Scottish poet and artist.-Life:The son of Robert Scott , the engraver, and brother of David Scott, the painter, he was born in Edinburgh. While a young man he studied art and assisted his father, and he published verses in the Scottish magazines...

    's "Pygmalion"
  • Thomas Woolner
    Thomas Woolner
    Thomas Woolner RA was an English sculptor and poet who was one of the founder-members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He was the only sculptor among the original members....

    's long poem Pygmalion (1881)
  • Frederick Tennyson
    Frederick Tennyson
    Frederick Tennyson was an English poet.-Life:Frederick Tennyson was the eldest son of George Clayton Tennyson, Rector of Somersby, Lincolnshire, and brother of Alfred Tennyson. He was educated at Eton College and St John's College, Cambridge...

    's "Pygmalion" from Daphne and Other Poems (1891).
  • Squire's "Galatea Awakes". (1920s)
  • R.M. Montgomery's "Galatea to Pygmalion" (1920s)
  • Robert Graves
    Robert Graves
    Robert von Ranke Graves 24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985 was an English poet, translator and novelist. During his long life he produced more than 140 works...

    ' "Pygmalion to Galatea" (1926) and "Galatea and Pygmalion".
  • Melanie Challenger's Galatea (2006)

  • Andrew Lang
    Andrew Lang
    Andrew Lang was a Scots poet, novelist, literary critic, and contributor to the field of anthropology. He is best known as a collector of folk and fairy tales. The Andrew Lang lectures at the University of St Andrews are named after him.- Biography :Lang was born in Selkirk...

    's “The New Pygmalion or the Statue’s Choice” (1911)
  • Carol Ann Duffy
    Carol Ann Duffy
    Carol Ann Duffy, CBE, FRSL is a Scottish poet and playwright. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at the Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain's poet laureate in May 2009...

    's poem "Pygmalion's Bride" (1999)

  • Emily Henrietta Hickey
    Emily Henrietta Hickey
    Emily Henrietta Hickey was an Irish author, narrative poet and translator.She was born in Macmine Castle, near Enniscorthy in County Wexford, daughter of the Rev. J. S. Hickey, Protestant rector of Goresbridge and grand-daughter of Rev. William Hickey , an agriculturist...

    's A Sculptor and Other Poems (1881)
  • Patrick Kavanagh
    Patrick Kavanagh
    Patrick Kavanagh was an Irish poet and novelist. Regarded as one of the foremost poets of the 20th century, his best known works include the novel Tarry Flynn and the poems Raglan Road and The Great Hunger...

    's "Pygmalion" (1938)

  • Friedrich Schiller
    Friedrich Schiller
    Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life , Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...

    's poem "The Ideals" (Die Ideale) (1795-6)

  • Nichita Stănescu
    Nichita Stanescu
    Nichita Stănescu was a Romanian poet and essayist. He is the most acclaimed contemporary Romanian language poet, loved by the public and generally held in esteem by literary critics.-Biography:...

    's poem "Către Galateea" (Dreptul la timp) (1965)

  • Sara Jane Lippincott
    Sara Jane Lippincott
    Sara Jane Lippincott was better known by the pseudonym Grace Greenwood. She was an American author, poet and lecturer. One of the first women to gain access into the Congressional press galleries, she used her questions to advocate for social reform and women's rights.-Biography:thumb|left|Sara...

     (Grace Greenwood)'s "Pygmalion" (1851)
  • Elizabeth Stuart Phelps' "Galatea" from Harper's Weekly (1884).
  • Edward Rowland Sill
    Edward Rowland Sill
    Edward Rowland Sill , American poet and educator, was born in Windsor, Connecticut.He graduated from Yale in 1861, where he was Class Poet and a member of Skull and Bones. He engaged in business in California, and entered the Harvard Divinity School in 1867 but soon left it for a position on the...

    's "The Lost Magic" (1900)
  • H.D.
    H.D. was an American poet, novelist and memoirist known for her association with the early 20th century avant-garde Imagist group of poets such as Ezra Pound and Richard Aldington...

    's "Pygmalion" (1913–17)
  • Genevieve Taggard
    Genevieve Taggard
    Genevieve Taggard was an American poet.-Biography:Genevieve Taggard was born to James Taggard and Alta Arnold, both of whom were school teachers...

    's "Galatea Again" (1929).
  • Albert G. Miller's "Pygmalion" (1945)
  • Harry C. Morris' "Pygmalion" (1956)
  • Melvin H. Bernstein's "Mr. Pygmalion to Miss Galatea: An Interior Monologue" (1970).
  • Katha Pollitt
    Katha Pollitt
    Katha Pollitt is an American feminist poet, essayist and critic. She is the author of four essay collections and two books of poetry...

    's "Pygmalion" (1979)
  • Joseph Brodsky
    Joseph Brodsky
    Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky , was a Russian poet and essayist.In 1964, 23-year-old Brodsky was arrested and charged with the crime of "social parasitism" He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 and settled in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters...

    's "Galatea Encore" (1983)
  • Katherine Solomon
    Katherine Solomon
    -Biography:Katherine Solomon was born and raised in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and attended college in Missouri. After living in Boston and Toronto, she met her husband on a commune in West Virginia, moved to the Bronx, and then back to NH with him...

    's "Galatea" (1999)
  • John Hooley's "Pygmalion" (first decade of the 21st century)
  • David Kimel's "Pygmalion" (first decade of the 21st century)


  • Claribel Alegría
    Claribel Alegría
    Clara Isabel Alegría Vides is a Nicaraguan poet, essayist, novelist, and journalist who was a major voice in the literature of contemporary Central America. She writes under the pseudonym Claribel Alegría.-Early life:...

    's "Galatea Before the Mirror" (1993)

Short Stories
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in the city of Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials...

    's short story "The Birth-Mark
    The Birth-Mark
    "The Birth-Mark" is a romantic short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne that examines obsession with human perfection. It was first published in the March, 1843 edition of The Pioneer...

    " and his similar novella, Rappaccini's Daughter
    Rappaccini's Daughter
    "Rappaccini's Daughter" is a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1844 concerning a medical researcher in medieval Padua. It was published in the collection Mosses from an Old Manse.-Plot summary:...

  • H.P. Lovecraft's "Herbert West–Reanimator"
  • Tommaso Landolfi
    Tommaso Landolfi
    Tommaso Landolfi was an Italian author and translator.Born in Pico, province of Frosinone, he wrote numerous grotesque tales and novels, sometimes on the border of speculative fiction, science fiction and realism...

    's "La moglie di Gogol" ('The Wife of Gogol')
  • John Updike
    John Updike
    John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic....

    's Pygmalion
  • E.T.A. Hoffman's The Sandman.
  • Stanley Grauman Weinbaum

Wilfred G's Creation of Chaos
Pygmalion's Spectacles

Novels and Plays
  • Mary Shelley
    Mary Shelley
    Mary Shelley was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus . She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley...

    's novel Frankenstein
    Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel about a failed experiment that produced a monster, written by Mary Shelley, with inserts of poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty-one. The first...

  • Isaac Asimov
    Isaac Asimov
    Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

    's novel "The Positronic Man
    The Positronic Man
    The Positronic Man is a novel co-written by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg, based on Asimov's novella The Bicentennial Man....

  • William Hazlitt
    William Hazlitt
    William Hazlitt was an English writer, remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, and as a grammarian and philosopher. He is now considered one of the great critics and essayists of the English language, placed in the company of Samuel Johnson and George Orwell. Yet his work is...

    's "Liber Amoris: or, the New Pygmalion" (1894).
  • Richard Powers
    Richard Powers
    Richard Powers is an American novelist whose works explore the effects of modern science and technology.- Life and work :...

    's novel Galatea 2.2
    Galatea 2.2
    Galatea 2.2 is a novel by Richard Powers. The novel is pseudo-autobiographical: the narrator is named Richard Powers and there is discussion of the four novels he wrote before Galatea 2.2 along with other references to his real biography. Richard Powers creates a version of himself for the novel...

  • Amanda Filipacchi
    Amanda Filipacchi
    Amanda Filipacchi is an American writer best known for her humorous, inventive, and controversial novels.Her fiction has been translated into 13 languages and has received critical acclaim in the U.S. and around the world.-Writing career:...

    's novel Vapor
  • Edith Wharton
    Edith Wharton
    Edith Wharton , was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, and designer.- Early life and marriage:...

    's "The House of Mirth"
  • Henry James
    Henry James
    Henry James, OM was an American-born writer, regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr., a clergyman, and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James....

    ' "The Portrait of a Lady" (1880–81).
  • Laura
    Laura (novel)
    Laura is a detective novel by Vera Caspary. It is her best known work, and was adapted into a popular film in 1944, with Gene Tierney in the title role.-Publication history:...

     by Vera Caspary
    Vera Caspary
    Vera Caspary was an American writer of novels, plays, screenplays, and short stories. Her best-known novel Laura was made into a highly successful movie. Though she claimed she was not a "real" mystery writer, her novels effectively merged women's quest for identity and love with murder plots...

  • George MacDonald
    George MacDonald
    George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister.Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, E. Nesbit and Madeleine L'Engle. It was C.S...

    's Phantastes
  • The Phantom of the Opera
    The Phantom of the Opera
    Le Fantôme de l'Opéra is a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. It was first published as a serialisation in "Le Gaulois" from September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910...

     by Gaston Leroux
    Gaston Leroux
    Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux was a French journalist and author of detective fiction.In the English-speaking world, he is best known for writing the novel The Phantom of the Opera , which has been made into several film and stage productions of the same name, notably the 1925 film starring Lon...

  • Oscar Wilde
    Oscar Wilde
    Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

    's The Picture of Dorian Gray
    The Picture of Dorian Gray
    The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine...

  • George Bernard Shaw
    George Bernard Shaw
    George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

    's play Pygmalion
    Pygmalion (play)
    Pygmalion: A Romance in Five Acts is a play by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador's garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of...

  • Tawfiq el-Hakim's play Pygmalion
  • William Schwenck Gilbert's play Pygmalion and Galatea
  • Willy Russell's play Educating Rita
    Educating Rita
    Educating Rita is a stage comedy by British playwright Willy Russell. It is a play for two actors set entirely in the office of an Open University lecturer....

  • Rousseau's play "Pygmalion, scéne lyrique"

  • Pete Wentz's comic series "Fall Out Toy Works
    Fall Out Toy Works
    Fall Out Toy Works is an American comic book limited series, created by Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, Darren Romanelli, and Nathan Cabrera. It is written by Brett Lewis, whose previous work includes The Winter Men, and is illustrated by several members of Imaginary Friends Studios...

  • Grant Morrison
    Grant Morrison
    Grant Morrison is a Scottish comic book writer, playwright and occultist. He is known for his nonlinear narratives and counter-cultural leanings, as well as his successful runs on titles like Animal Man, Doom Patrol, JLA, The Invisibles, New X-Men, Fantastic Four, All-Star Superman, and...

    's Professor Pyg
    Professor Pyg
    Professor Pyg is a fictional character in DC Comics and an enemy of Batman and Robin. He was created by Grant Morrison and first appeared in a cameo in Batman #666 . He is a regular character in the Batman and Robin series...

     who appears in Batman and Robin
    Batman and Robin (comic book)
    Batman and Robin is an American comic book ongoing series, created by Grant Morrison and featuring Batman and Robin. The debut of the series followed the events of "Batman R.I.P.", Final Crisis, and "Battle for the Cowl" in which the original Batman, Bruce Wayne, apparently died at the hands of DC...

Opera, ballet and music

  • The story of Pygmalion is the subject of Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Jean-Philippe Rameau was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord of his time, alongside François...

    's 1748 opera, Pigmalion
    Pigmalion (opera)
    For the opera by Georg Benda see Pygmalion Pigmalion is an opera in the form of a one-act acte de ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau first performed on 27 August 1748 at the Opéra in Paris. The libretto is by Ballot de Sovot. The work has generally been regarded as the best of Rameau's one-act pieces...


It was also the subject of Gaetano Donizetti
Gaetano Donizetti
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer from Bergamo, Lombardy. His best-known works are the operas L'elisir d'amore , Lucia di Lammermoor , and Don Pasquale , all in Italian, and the French operas La favorite and La fille du régiment...

's first opera, Il Pigmalione
Il Pigmalione
For the opera by Cherubini, see PimmalioneIl Pigmalione is an opera in one act by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto of Antonio Simeone Sografi. It is Donizetti's first opera and was written between September and October 1816, when the composer was 19...

  • Molin
    Molin was a village in Banat, Serbia. The village was founded in 1833 and existed until 1961. It was located in the Nova Crnja municipality, Central Banat District, Vojvodina province. The village was abandoned because of groundwater...

     produced a ballet-pantomime version of Pygmalion in 1800.
  • The ballet Coppélia
    Coppélia is a sentimental comic ballet with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon to a ballet libretto by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter and music by Léo Delibes. It was based upon two macabre stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Der Sandmann , and Die Puppe...

    , about an inventor who makes a life-sized dancing doll, has strong echoes of Pygmalion.
  • The great choreographer Marius Petipa
    Marius Petipa
    Victor Marius Alphonse Petipa was a French ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer. Petipa is considered to be the most influential ballet master and choreographer of ballet that has ever lived....

     and the composer Prince Nikita Trubetskoi created a four act ballet on the subject called Pygmalion, ou La Statue de Chypre
    Pygmalion, ou La Statue de Chypre
    Pygmalion, ou La Statue de Chypre is a ballet in 4 Acts-6 Scenes, with choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Prince Nikita Trubestkoi....

    . The ballet was revived in 1895 with the great ballerina Pierina Legnani
    Pierina Legnani
    Pierina Legnani was an Italian ballerina, a terre-à-terre virtuosa extraordinaire, considered one of the greatest ballerinas of all time.-Career:...

  • The English progressive rock group Yes composed "Turn Of The Century" (1977); it tells the story of the sculptor Roan who, in the grief of his wife's death, "molds his passion into clay." The sculpture of his wife comes to life and they fall in love.
  • The song "Trial By Fire" by darkwave/gothic band ThouShaltNot
    ThouShaltNot are a band whose style blends post-punk, goth, industrial music, and synthpop. Active since 1998, they are from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and are signed to Dancing Ferret Discs.-Biography:...

     recreates the idea of a modern-day Pygmalion with lyrics such as "I sculpt your nature within, I am your Pygmalion" and "I dust away the plaster from off your breathing body...You'll never be the same."

Stage plays

There have also been successful stage-plays based upon the work, such as W. S. Gilbert
W. S. Gilbert
Sir William Schwenck Gilbert was an English dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator best known for his fourteen comic operas produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan, of which the most famous include H.M.S...

's Pygmalion and Galatea  (1871). It was revived twice, in 1884 and in 1888.

In January, 1872, Ganymede and Galatea opened at the Gaiety Theatre
Gaiety Theatre, London
The Gaiety Theatre, London was a West End theatre in London, located on Aldwych at the eastern end of the Strand. The theatre was established as the Strand Musick Hall , in 1864 on the former site of the Lyceum Theatre. It was rebuilt several times, but closed from the beginning of World War II...

. This was a comic version of Franz von Suppé
Franz von Suppé
Franz von Suppé or Francesco Suppé Demelli was an Austrian composer of light operas who was born in what is now Croatia during the time his father was working in this outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire...

's Die schöne Galathee
Die schöne Galathee
Die schöne Galathee is an operetta in two acts by Franz von Suppé to a German libretto by the composer and 'Poly Henrion' ....

, coincidentally with Arthur Sullivan
Arthur Sullivan
Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan MVO was an English composer of Irish and Italian ancestry. He is best known for his series of 14 operatic collaborations with the dramatist W. S. Gilbert, including such enduring works as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado...

's brother, Fred Sullivan
Fred Sullivan
Frederic Sullivan was an English actor and singer. He is best remembered as the creator of the role of the Learned Judge in Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury, providing a model for the comic roles in the later Savoy Operas composed by his brother Arthur Sullivan.By 1870, Sullivan had abandoned...

, in the cast.

In March 1872, William Brough's
William Brough (writer)
-Life and works:Brough was born in London, the son of Barnabas Brough , a brewer, publican, wine merchant and later dramatist, and his wife Frances Whiteside, a poet and novelist. He was the brother of writer Robert, actor Lionel and science writer John Cargill Brough...

 1867 play Pygmalion; or, The Statue Fair
Pygmalion; or, The Statue Fair
Pygmalion; or, The Statue Fair is a play by William Brough that was advertised as a musical burlesque. It was first produced in 1867, and revived in March 1872....

was revived, and in May of that year, a visiting French company produced Victor Massé
Victor Massé
Victor Massé was a French composer.-Biography:...

's Galathée.

In 1883, the musical burlesque Galatea, or Pygmalion Reversed
Galatea, or Pygmalion Reversed
Galatea, or Pygmalion Re-Versed is a musical burlesque that parodies the Pygmalion legend, and specifically W. S. Gilbert's play Pygmalion and Galatea. The libretto was written by Henry Pottinger Stephens and W. Webster. The score was composed by Wilhelm Meyer Lutz...

 was performed at the Gaiety Theatre
Gaiety Theatre, London
The Gaiety Theatre, London was a West End theatre in London, located on Aldwych at the eastern end of the Strand. The theatre was established as the Strand Musick Hall , in 1864 on the former site of the Lyceum Theatre. It was rebuilt several times, but closed from the beginning of World War II...

 with a libretto by Henry Pottinger Stephens
Henry Pottinger Stephens
Henry Pottinger Stephens, also known as Henry Beauchamp , was an English dramatist and journalist. With a variety of partners, he wrote burlesques, comic operas and musical comedies that briefly rivalled the Savoy Operas in popular esteem.-Life and career:"Pot" Stephens was born in Barrow-on-Soar,...

 and W. Webster, and a score composed by Wilhelm Meyer Lutz.

George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

's Pygmalion
Pygmalion (play)
Pygmalion: A Romance in Five Acts is a play by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador's garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of...

(1912, staged 1914) owes something to both the Greek Pygmalion and the legend of "King Cophetua
"The King and the Beggar-maid" is a Medieval romance which tells the legend of the prince Cophetua and his unorthodox love for the beggar Penelophon .-The legend:...

 and the beggar maid"; in which a King lacks interest in women, but one day falls in love with a young beggar-girl, later educating her to be his Queen. Shaw's comedy of manners
Comedy of manners
The comedy of manners is a genre of play/television/film which satirizes the manners and affectations of a social class, often represented by stock characters, such as the miles gloriosus in ancient times, the fop and the rake during the Restoration, or an old person pretending to be young...

 in turn was the basis for the Broadway musical My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady is a musical based upon George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe...


The poet Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem titled "Pygmalion's Bride" as part of her collection "The World's Wife."

P. L. Deshpande
P. L. Deshpande
Purushottam Laxman Deshpande was a Marathi writer from Maharashtra, India. He was popularly known by his initials पु. ल. Purushottam Laxman Deshpande (8 November 1919 – 12 June 2000) was a Marathi writer from Maharashtra, India. He was popularly known by his initials पु. ल. Purushottam Laxman...

's play "Ti Fulrani" (Queen of flowers) is also based on Shaw's Pygmalion. The play was a huge success in Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

 theater and has earned many accolades.


Notable 20th century feature films are My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady (film)
My Fair Lady is a 1964 musical film adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe stage musical, of the same name, based on the 1938 film adaptation of the original stage play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. The ballroom scene and the ending were taken from the previous film adaptation , rather than from...

(1964, based on the Broadway musical); Trading Places
Trading Places
Trading Places is a 1983 American comedy film, of the satire genre, directed by John Landis, starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. It tells the story of an upper class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler whose lives cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet...

, Mighty Aphrodite
Mighty Aphrodite
Mighty Aphrodite is a 1995 romantic comedy film written and directed by Woody Allen. The screenplay was inspired by the mythological tale of Pygmalion....

by director Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

; Weird Science
Weird Science (film)
Weird Science is a 1985 American teen comedy film written and directed by John Hughes and starring Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, and Kelly LeBrock...

directed by John Hughes; and the 1987 film Mannequin
Mannequin (1987 film)
Mannequin is a 1987 romantic comedy film, starring Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, Meshach Taylor, James Spader, G. W. Bailey, and Estelle Getty...

, a remake of the 1948 classic One Touch of Venus
One Touch of Venus
One Touch of Venus is a musical with music written by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ogden Nash, and book by S. J. Perelman and Nash, based on the novella The Tinted Venus by Thomas Anstey Guthrie, and very loosely spoofing the Pygmalion myth. The show satirizes contemporary American suburban values,...

, the Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts
Julia Fiona Roberts is an American actress. She became a Hollywood star after headlining the romantic comedy Pretty Woman , which grossed $464 million worldwide...

 hit movie Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman is a 1990 romantic comedy film set in Los Angeles, California. Written by J.F. Lawton and directed by Garry Marshall, this motion picture features Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and also Hector Elizondo, Ralph Bellamy, and Jason Alexander in supporting roles. Roberts played the only...

, She's All That
She's All That
She's All That is a 1999 American romantic comedy film directed by Robert Iscove, and is a modern adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion...

with Freddie Prinze Jr., as well as S1m0ne
S1m0ne is a 2002 science fiction comedy film written, produced and directed by Andrew Niccol. It stars Al Pacino, Catherine Keener, Rachel Roberts, Evan Rachel Wood, Winona Ryder and Rebecca Romijn.-Plot:...

(featuring a computer-generated artificial intelligence as the love object). Many films have dealt collaterally with this theme.: Vertigo
Vertigo (film)
Vertigo is a 1958 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes. The screenplay was written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A...

, and more recently Lars and the Real Girl
Lars and the Real Girl
Lars and the Real Girl is a 2007 American-Canadian comedy-drama film written by Nancy Oliver and directed by Craig Gillespie. It stars Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner and Patricia Clarkson...

, depicting an introverted man who falls in love with a plastic sex doll. The play, 1946, and films, 1950 and 1993, "Born Yesterday" also carry the Pygmalion theme as does Fritz Lang
Fritz Lang
Friedrich Christian Anton "Fritz" Lang was an Austrian-American filmmaker, screenwriter, and occasional film producer and actor. One of the best known émigrés from Germany's school of Expressionism, he was dubbed the "Master of Darkness" by the British Film Institute...

's Metropolis
Metropolis (film)
Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist film in the science-fiction genre directed by Fritz Lang. Produced in Germany during a stable period of the Weimar Republic, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and makes use of this context to explore the social crisis between workers and...


The popular horror genre in film has also had an interest in 'bringing to life' waxwork figures and show-room dummies (see: Waxworks: A Cultural Obsession by Michelle Bloom). For instance, Karl Freund
Karl Freund
Karl W. Freund, A.S.C. was a cinematographer and film director most noted for photographing Metropolis , Dracula , and television's I Love Lucy .-Early life:...

's 1935 horror film Mad Love
Mad Love (1935 film)
Mad Love is a 1935 American horror film adaptation of Maurice Renard's story The Hands of Orlac. Directed by German-émigré film maker Karl Freund, the film stars Peter Lorre as Dr. Gogol, Frances Drake as Yvonne Orlac and Colin Clive as Stephen Orlac. The plot revolves around Doctor Gogol's...

features an obsessive character named Doctor Gogol who keeps a wax figure of an actress he is in love with in his apartment, referring to the figure as Galatea as he speaks to it and plays music for it. In the climax, the actress is caught hiding in Gogol's apartment and pretends to be the figure in an attempt to conceal herself. When she finally screams, Gogol mistakenly and insanely believes that his love has brought Galatea to life at last. Many horror films deviate considerably from the original story; for example, in The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives (1975 film)
The Stepford Wives is a 1975 science fiction–thriller film based on the 1972 Ira Levin novel of the same name. It was directed by Bryan Forbes with a screenplay by William Goldman, and stars Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson, Nanette Newman and Tina Louise...

(1975) the creators turn their living wives into inanimate (robotic, compliant) wives. Likewise, the legend serves as the inspiration for one of the Lineages, the Galatea, that appears in the White Wolf role-playing game
Role-playing game
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development...

 Promethean: The Created
Promethean: The Created
Promethean: The Created is a role-playing game published by White Wolf, set in the new World of Darkness.The game is inspired by the classic tales of Frankenstein's monster, the Golem and other such simulacra. The characters are individuals created by first dismembering and reassembling human...


Other notable film adaptations include The Red Shoes and All About Eve
All About Eve
All About Eve is a 1950 American drama film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on the 1946 short story "The Wisdom of Eve", by Mary Orr.The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star...



  • The American TV series My Living Doll
    My Living Doll
    My Living Doll is an American science fiction sitcom that aired for 26 episodes on CBS from September 27, 1964 to September 8, 1965. This series was produced by Jack Chertok and was filmed at Desilu studios by Jack Chertok Television, Inc., in association with the CBS Television Network...

    portrayed a female robot (Julie Newmar
    Julie Newmar
    Julie Newmar is an American actress, dancer and singer. Her most famous role is Catwoman in the Batman television series.-Early life:...

    ) whose creators attempted to transform her into a "perfect woman".
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
    The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
    The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an American television series that was broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1964, to January 15, 1968. It follows the exploits of two secret agents, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who work for a fictitious secret international espionage and law-enforcement...

    3rd season episode "The Galatea Affair" from 1966 is a spoof of My Fair Lady. A crude barroom entertainer (Joan Collins
    Joan Collins
    Joan Henrietta Collins, OBE , is an English actress, author, and columnist. Born in Paddington and raised in Maida Vale, Collins grew up during the Second World War. At the age of nine, she made her stage debut in A Doll's House and after attending school, she was classically trained as an actress...

    ) is taught to behave like a lady. Noel Harrison
    Noel Harrison
    Noel Harrison is an English Olympic athlete, actor and singer. He is the son of British actor Sir Rex Harrison.-Early life:...

    , son of Rex Harrison
    Rex Harrison
    Sir Reginald Carey “Rex” Harrison was an English actor of stage and screen. Harrison won an Academy Award and two Tony Awards.-Youth and stage career:...

    , star of the My Fair Lady
    My Fair Lady
    My Fair Lady is a musical based upon George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe...

    film, is the guest star.
  • The Aerosmith
    Aerosmith is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as "The Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band". Their style, which is rooted in blues-based hard rock, has come to also incorporate elements of pop, heavy metal, and rhythm and blues, and has inspired many...

     music video for Hole in My Soul
    Hole in My Soul
    "Hole in My Soul" is a song performed by American hard rock band Aerosmith. It was written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and professional songwriter Desmond Child...

    features a nerdy college student who tries to find the girl of his dreams by creating one in a lab, only to have her leave him.
  • The Japanese anime series Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 includes a character named Galatea
    Galatea is an ancient Greek name meaning "she who is milk-white".Galatea or Galathea may refer to:-In mythology:* Galatea :**Galatea, a woman who prayed for her daughter to be turned into a son, Leucippus...

    , an artificial life form designed to be the next evolution of the human race.
  • In Justice League Unlimited
    Justice League Unlimited
    Justice League Unlimited is an American animated television series that was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and aired on Cartoon Network. Featuring a wide array of superheroes from the DC Comics universe, and specifically based on the Justice League superhero team, it is a direct sequel to the...

    , Emile Hamilton creates a clone of Supergirl, that he names Galatea.
  • An episode of the Philippine TV series Love Spell
    Love Spell
    This article is about a television show and not about the topic.Love Spell is a fantasy and romance-based program airing on ABS-CBN that tells a different love story each season with a new couple...

    features a teenage boy who falls in love with a mannequin who comes to life when lightning strikes it.
  • In the music video for "This Time
    So Hot
    "So Hot" is a Wonder Girls song released in 2008, produced by Park Jin-young. Released as a second single on June 3, 2008, the song became an instant hit and quickly hit #1 on various online and offline charts.-History:...

    " by K-pop
    K-pop is a musical genre consisting of electropop, hip hop, pop, rock, and R&B music originating in South Korea...

     group Wonder Girls
    Wonder Girls
    Wonder Girls is a South Korean girl group. Its producer and manager is singer-songwriter Park Jin-Young and the Wonder Girls is signed to his talent agency, JYP Entertainment. Each of the five original members were selected through auditions...

    , a designer falls in love with his mannequin, and she comes to life. She runs away, leaving the designer to chase after her.
  • In "Fagmalion" a three-part episode of Will and Grace, Will Truman
    Will Truman
    William Pierce "Will" Truman is a fictional character on the American sitcom Will & Grace, portrayed by Eric McCormack. He is a gay lawyer who lives in the Upper West Side of New York City with his best friend, Grace Adler.-Fictional character history:...

     falls in love with a man named Barry whom he sculpts into a more refined gay man following his coming out.
  • King Of The Hill
    King of the Hill
    King of the Hill is an American animated dramedy series created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, that ran from January 12, 1997, to May 6, 2010, on Fox network. It centers on the Hills, a working-class Methodist family in the fictional small town of Arlen, Texas...

     Season 7 Episode 9 "Pigmalion" Luanne
    The rocker, "Luanne" was the fifth and final single taken from the album, "4", by the band, Foreigner, and the second to feature a b-side that was not available on one of their albums, a controversial live version of their Hit, "Hot Blooded". The song was written by Lou Gramm & Mick Jones and...

     becomes involved with a psychotic owner of a pork processing plant.
  • In Disneys "Hercules: The Animated Series
    Hercules: The Animated Series
    Hercules is an animated series based on the 1997 film of the same name and the Greek myth. The series follows teenage Hercules training as a hero as well as trying to adjust to life. With his free-spirited friend Icarus, his future-seeing friend Cassandra and his teacher Philoctetes , he battles...

    ," Pygmalion was Hercules art teacher. His success in crafting a perfect wife for himself prompted Hercules to do the same, naming it Galatea.

Interactive fiction

  • The IF Galatea is based on the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea.

Further reading

  • Essaka Joshua. (2001). Pygmalion and Galatea: The History of a Narrative in English Literature
    English literature
    English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

    . Ashgate.
  • Kenneth Gross. (1992). The Dream of the Moving Statue. Cornell University Press. (A wide-ranging survey of 'living statues' in literature and the arts).
  • Jack Burnham. Beyond Modern Sculpture (1982). Allan Lane. (A history of 'living statues' and the fascination with automata - see the introductory chapter: "Sculpture and Automata").
  • Ernst Buschor. Vom Sinn der griechischen Standbilder (1942). (Clear discussion of attitudes to sculptural images in classical times).
  • John J. Ciofalo. "The Art of Sex and Violence - The Sex and Violence of Art." The Self-Portraits of Francisco Goya. Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • John J. Ciofalo. "Unveiling Goya's Rape of Galatea." Art History (December 1995), pp. 477–98.
  • Gail Marshall. (1998). Actresses on the Victorian Stage: Feminine Performance and the Galatea Myth. Cambridge University Press.
  • Alexandra K. Wettlaufer. (2001). Pen Vs. Paintbrush: Girodet, Balzac, and the Myth of Pygmalion in Post-Revolutionary France. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Danahay, Martin A. (1994) "Mirrors of Masculine Desire: Narcissus and Pygmalion in Victorian Representation". Victorian Poetry, No. 32, 1994: pages 35–53.
  • Edward A. Shanken. (2005) "Hot 2 Bot: Pygmalion’s Lust, the Maharal’s Fear, and the Cyborg Future of Art," Technoetic Arts 3:1: 43-55.
  • (2005). Almost Human: Puppets, Dolls and Robots in Contemporary Art, Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, New Jersey. (Catalogue for a group exhibition March 20 - June 12, 2005)
  • Morford, Mark. (2007). "Classical Mythology Eighth Edition". Oxford University Press
  • Hersey, George L (2009). "Falling in love with statues: artificial humans from Pygmalion to the present", Chicago, 2009, ISBN 9780226327792
  • Law, Helen H. (1932). "The Name Galatea in the Pygmalion Myth", The Classical Journal, Vol. 27 No. 5 (Feb. 1932), published by The Classical Association of the Middle West and South, accessed via JSTOR at

See also

  • Agalmatophilia
  • Narcissus
    Narcissus (mythology)
    Narcissus or Narkissos , possibly derived from ναρκη meaning "sleep, numbness," in Greek mythology was a hunter from the territory of Thespiae in Boeotia who was renowned for his beauty. He was exceptionally proud, in that he disdained those who loved him...

  • Pinocchio
    The Adventures of Pinocchio is a novel for children by Italian author Carlo Collodi, written in Florence. The first half was originally a serial between 1881 and 1883, and then later completed as a book for children in February 1883. It is about the mischievous adventures of Pinocchio , an...

  • Prometheus
    In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan, the son of Iapetus and Themis, and brother to Atlas, Epimetheus and Menoetius. He was a champion of mankind, known for his wily intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals...

  • Uncanny valley
    Uncanny Valley
    The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of robotics and 3D computer animation, which holds that when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers...

External links

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