Louisa in the Outdoor Studio,
“Louisa in the Outdoor Studio, Anticoli Corrado,” oil on canvas,
William E. B. Starkweather, 1912.
The scene shows an artist’s model named Louisa posing in a garden, or as the artist called it, “the outdoor studio.” She stands like a Greek goddess or maenad with her drapery slipping away to partially reveal her youthful, nubile body. The garden is lush and green with sunlight coming through the trees. The pose, setting, and mood also recall the ancient artist Pygmalion who sees his statue of Galatea come to life. In the Greek myth retold by Ovid, Pygmalion makes a sculpture of a woman so realistic that he falls in love with her; he prays to Venus that she will come to life. When he returns to his studio and kisses the statue, her lips are warm, and the ivory has turned to flesh. Although this story is not explicitly stated, the image suggests a classical, mythological reference.
Question: What is the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea?