Pygmalion’s dream

Oil/canvas, 80x150 cm

„Pygmalion’s dream“ shows a naked young woman sitting on a lion. She is situated on a kind of stage predominantly laid out with red fabric. Around her there are sculptures which partly remind you of ancient history; unlike the woman and the lion, who both seem to be alive, the other figures are easily distinguished as sculptures due to their different coloring. In the background one looks into a vast landscape where there are also sculptures – partly on pedestals.

Next to the „ancient“ sculptures, however, the putti look very much alive despite their gray coloring. They seem to be rollicking about and are clearly interacting with each other.

The young woman is looking to the upper right out of the picture – she has a strand of hair in her mouth, around her lower arms and on her lap are colorful cloths. The lion appears to be nestling against her leg – his front paws are very daintily laid over each other – although the claws of his left paw do look pretty dangerous.

To the right in the foreground there is a grid going back perspectively. From there, a spotlight illuminates the scene.

In order to classify this picture, it is certainly necessary to occupy oneself with the story depicted here.

Pygmalion is actually a Greek myth which became known especially in Ovid’s version. According to this version, Pygmalion became a misogynist through bad experience. He lives on only for sculpting. One day, he creates a female statue out of ivory which turns out so natural that he falls in love with it. In the end, he asks Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to bring the figure to life – she succeeds and the two unite.


This story has been the theme of paintings since the Renaissance era – of course, the fact that an artist’s work comes to life has a lot to do with the artist’s position. Only after the painters, sculptors etc. were no longer viewed as simple craftsmen, but as artists – that is as creators of independent worlds, could such a myth become relevant to them.

It may be surprising at first sight that Kaikaoss, as an Afghan artist, has taken up a Greek myth in the version of a classic Roman poet. The artist as the creator of new worlds, as a producer of things parallel to nature in that sense – this especially fits Kaikaoss like hardly any other predicate...“

Dr. Rainer Grimm