L'Amour et Psyche, enfants

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William Adolphe Bouguereau

1825-1905

French Academic Classical painter, teacher, frescoist and draftsman

L'Amour et Psyche, enfants

Cupid and Psyche as Children

1889

119.5 x 71 cms | 47 x 27 3/4 ins
Oil on canvas

"The story of Cupid and Psyche was one of Bouguereau's favorite myths. He painted several works inspired from this legend, such as The Rapture of Psyche, Psyche and Cupid, and Psyche. The myth of Cupid and Psyche first appears written in The Golden Ass of Lucius Apuleius in the 2nd century AD. In the story, Psyche is a beautiful princess of whom the goddess Venus is jealous. In her rage she orders her son cupid to make Psyche fall in love with a monster, but Cupid falls in love with her himself. After several trials Cupid and Psyche make their plea to the gods who turn Psyche into an immortal and allow them to be married in heaven (British Library). In this painting Bouguereau was inspired to paint the two lovers together as children. Demonstrating that fate its self had a hand in there meeting. They were born to be together. The subtle paint handling captures the children's innocence and illustrates to the viewer that Cupid's original attraction to Psyche was not purely physical, but also platonic, for the innocence of childhood does not allow for anything else. You cannot have true love without also having a mutual trust and respect, and a relaxed and enduring companionship between lovers. Cupid and Psyche's union then is not just physical: they are soul mates and compliment each other eternally."

-- by Kara Ross