The Sculptor and the Statue of Jupiter book cover

The Sculptor and the Statue of Jupiter

The Sculptor and the Statue of Jupiter is a fable by Jean de La Fontaine that teaches moral lessons through an allegorical story. In this tale, a sculptor creates a magnificent statue of Jupiter, only to be greatly disappointed when the townsfolk see it merely as a piece of stone, rather than a god. Through his disappointment, the sculptor realizes that the ignorance and dull vision of the masses often reduces even the highest forms of art and divinity to mere physical objects. The fable highlights the moral: that true value and beauty often lie in the eyes of the beholder.

Genre: Fable

Submitted by davidb on September 28, 2023

A Block of marble shone so white, A Sculptor bought it, and, that night, Said, "Now, my chisel, let's decree: God, tank, or table, shall it be? "We 'll have a god--the dream I clasp; His hand a thunderbolt shall grasp. Tremble, ye monarchs, ere it's hurled! Behold the master of the world!" So well the patient workman wrought In stone the vision of his thought, The people cried at last, "Beseech The gods to grant it power of speech!" Some even dared the crowd to tell That, when the chisel's last blow fell, The Sculptor was the first with dread To turn away his trembling head. The ancient poet's not to blame, For weak man's terror, fear, and shame The gods invented in each age, Abhorring human hate and rage. The sculptor was a child; confess, His mind, like children's in distress, Tormented by this ceaseless sorrow, His doll might angry be to-morrow. The heart obeys its guide, the mind: And from this source there flows, we find, This Pagan error, which we see Widen to all infinity. We all embrace some favourite dream, And follow it down flood and stream. Pygmalion was in love, 'tis said, With Venus that himself had made. Each turns his dream into a truth, And tries to fancy it all sooth. Ice to the facts before his face, But burning falsehood to embrace.
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Jean de La Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine was a renowned French fabulist and one of the most famous poets during the French classical period. He was born on July 8, 1621, and died on April 13, 1695. Known for his literary style, he is best known for his "Fables", which are considered classics of French literature. His works were marked by his sophisticated style and moral substance, and his fables provided a scathing critique of French society during his time. more…

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