I believe the painting below based in Greek mythology is fantastically beautiful and romantic. It depicts Pygmalion, King of Cyprus who sculpted a woman out of marble, all the while wishing for a wife as beautiful as the woman he created. The statue which Pygmalion called Galatea was so lovely that he fell in love with his own creation.
Like many Greek myths, Venus, the Goddess of Love brings the sculpture to life, as seen in Galatea's top portion of her torso, yet her calves are still grounded in marble. This is perhaps the most dramatic part of the painting. She is half stone, half human.
There is so much to be viewed in this painting: a vision of Cupid shooting his love arrow straight for the Artist. At this point, Galatea leans her beautifully curved back over for a passionate kiss with Pygmalion. Small, but intended props included are the drama masks of theatre.
Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904). French painter and sculptor.
Interesting facts: This 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."
I would like to thank one of my Art History Professors Dr. Petra Chu for introducing me to this painting, that I have never forgotten, after all these years.
This painting can be viewed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Also, a different version by the same Artist can be seen at the The Bridgemen Art Library in London.