Cupidon et Psyché (1867)

Legros, Alphonse (1837-1911)

Cupidon et Psyché (Cupid and Psyche)
exhibited 1867
Oil on canvas, 116.8 × 141.4 cm
Tate BritainLondon

The tale of Cupid and Psyche was written by the Roman poet Lucius Apuleius. Psyche was given a box, supposedly containing beauty for the goddess Venus. She was told not to open it, but could not resist looking inside, causing her to fall into a deep sleep. Legros shows the moment when her lover, Cupid, discovers her. He is about to wake her with a touch of his arrow. Legros was born in France but fellow artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler encouraged him to move to London, where he settled in 1863. The composition of the reclining female figure shows the influence of Italian artists such as Giorgione and Titian, as well as Rembrandt. (Tate)

See also:

• Apuleius (c.124-c.170): Psyche et Cupido (Latin)