Temple of the Muses

Etching from Temple of the Muses

Temple of the Muses (Tempel der Zanggodinnen)

Library Call Number: BL782 .P53 1733

"Pygmalion is inamored with a statue he had made; and Venus at his prayer transforms it into a woman." (p. 44) This book is a Dutch compilation of ancient Greek and Roman myths, accompanied by engravings by Bernard Picart and several others.

Engraving depicting Pygmaleon's sculpture from Temple of the MusesThis engraving, by Picart, depicts the myth Pygmalion from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In this story, a sculptor falls in love with his own creation which Venus brings to life. This print displays the festival of Venus, at which Pygmalion prays to the goddess to give him a wife “like his statue,” and is shocked and pleased when Venus transforms his beloved sculpture into a living, breathing woman.

The myth has been depicted in paintings by Neoclassical artist Girodet and Romantic artist Gerome. Notably, Picart's engraving, predating these paintings by one hundred years does not depict the sculptor.

This book was acquired by ARC as part of the W. McAllister Johnson Collection to support studies in History, Art History, the Humanities, and Design.