Pygmalion and the Image Series The Soul Attains (1878) by Edward Burne-Jones

Pygmalion and the Image Series The Soul Attains - Edward Burne-Jones - 1875 - 1878

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Artwork Information

TitlePygmalion and the Image Series The Soul Attains
ArtistEdward Burne-Jones
Date1875 - 1878
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions99 x 76.2 cm (39 x 30 in)
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationBirmingham Museums and Art Gallery

About Pygmalion and the Image Series The Soul Attains

The artwork “Pygmalion and the Image Series The Soul Attains” is a notable work by the artist Edward Burne-Jones, created between 1875 and 1878. This mythological painting, a part of the Pygmalion series, is executed in oil on canvas. It reflects the Romanticism art movement and measures 99 by 76.2 centimeters (39 x 30 inches). The artwork is part of the collection at the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

In the artwork, there is a portrayal of a moment from the classical myth of Pygmalion, which tells the story of a sculptor who falls in love with a statue he has created. This particular scene captures the transformative event when the statue begins to come to life, illustrating the theme “The Soul Attains.” It features two central figures: a kneeling Pygmalion, dressed in an earth-toned, draped garment, and his creation, a female figure standing before him, embodying a serene and ethereal beauty that is just beginning to gain the warmth of life. The palette is subtle, consisting of soft hues that contribute to the overall dreamlike and idealized mood of the scene.

The background is composed of a detailed interior space with architectural elements that suggest a workshop with a sculptor’s tools, hinting at the artistic creation process. A sense of tenderness and awe emanates from Pygmalion’s expression and posture as he reverently touches the statue, emblematic of the miraculous transformation occurring before him. The composition and use of soft lighting accentuate the transcendent and mystical atmosphere of the image, skillfully capturing the precise moment when artistry and myth merge into a narrative of enchantment and transformation.

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