This marble relief made by Rodin represents Galatea from the Greek mythology symbol of Mediterranean beauty.
Galatea is part of Greek mythology, she is one of the “Nereidi” daughters of Nereo and Doride. Mythology says that these female figures were nymphs living at the bottom of the ocean. They would only come out in order to help sailors in need.
Galatea was in love with Aci, a beautiful young man. Polyphemus, in love with the nymph, tried to catch her without any results. Galatea and the boy spent time together by the beach, one day Polyphemus got incredibly angry seeing the young couple and killed the boy throwing a huge lava rock at him.
Galatea kept crying her lover’s death for days, until Zeus transformed Aci’s blood into a river (Akis) which emerges from the volcano Etna in Sicily and ends at a small beach, the beach where the two lovers met when together.
Today it is possible to find a stream flowing into the sea, the water has a red-like colour due to the high percentage of iron molecules in the water, a colour that reminds us of Aci’s blood.