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Pygmalion Giuseppe Ghezzi


Giuseppe Ghezzi Communanza 1634 – 1721 Rome

Culture Italian
Date 1695
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on canvas

106 × 136 cm

Inventory number 81.1
Collection Old Master Paintings
On view Museum of Fine Arts, Second Floor, European Art 1700-1850, Gallery XXIX

Ovid tells the story of the Cypriot king and skilled sculptor Pygmalion, who fell in love with a snow-white ivory statue he made, instead of a flesh-and-blood woman. He asked Venus for the love of a woman who resembled his work, and the goddess of love granted his wish, breathing life into the statue. Giuseppe Ghezzi, an outstanding representative of late baroque Roman painting, captures the moment of the statue’s transformation in a well-balanced composition of elegant proportions and rich colours. Pygmalion gazes up at Venus with a mixture of awe and wonder, his heightened emotions accentuated by the theatrical setting and swirling draperies. The burning torch and the bow in the hands of the floating putti accompanying the scene are a reference to flaring love.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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