The Story of Cupid and Psyche
in Images

For the long version of the story of Cupid and Psyche, click here.

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The following painting is a kind of "all-in-one comics", as it contains all the story in just one big drawing. In the foreground we see Psyche with her servants and in another group on the right probably with her sisters, while in the background, on the left, we can see Psyche looking at Cupid while he's sleeping and on the right there is their wedding.

The Story of Cupid and Psyche
The Story of Cupid and Psyche
De Clerck,...
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Psyche, the beautiful daughter of a king, was told she was going to marry a monster. Her parents left her on top of a mountain. The Zephyr came and carried her to a valley.

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The Carrying Away of Psyche
Pierre-Paul PRUD'Hon


There she saw an enchanted palace.

Psyche Entering Cupid's Garden
Psyche Entering Cupid's Garden
Waterhouse, John William
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Inside she saw nobody, but she could hear the voices of invisible servants, who took very good care of her and prepared her bath.

Bath of Psyche
Bath of Psyche
Frederick ...
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Psyche at her Toilette

Psyche at her Toilette

by Charles-Joseph Natoire
1745


Decorative Panel from the Oval Salon Illustrating the Story of Psyche, 1732-39
Decorative Panel...
Charles Joseph...
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Every night her husband snuck near her.

Cupid And Psyche
Cupid And Psyche
Stanhope, John Roddam Spencer
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In the morning he would go away before she woke up.

Cupid and Psyche by Jacques-Louis David
Cupid and Psyche by Jacques-Louis David
David, Jacques-Louis
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Cupid and Psyche, 1817
Cupid and Psyche, 1817
Picot, Francois...
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After a while, Psyche began to miss her sisters. When they came, they asked her about her husband and discovered that Psyche didn't know what he looked like. They were jealous of her, as she lived in such a beautiful palace, among riches, while they were married to older men.

Psyche Showing Her Sisters Her Gifts from Cupid, 1753 (Oil on Canvas)
Psyche Showing...
Jean-Honore ...
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So they advised her to keep a lamp and a knife near the bed and look at her husband one night, when he fell asleep, then kill him, if he is the monster in the prophecy. Otherwise, this monster will surely kill her and her child, when he is born (by now Psyche was pregnant).

The poor girl followed their advice and one night she managed to look at him. (And from the different paintings you can see that it is here that the story of Cupid and Psyche becomes a real tour de force for the painters, i.e.: how do you represent the light that Psyche holds and how do you render the light and shadows in the scene?)

Cupid and Psyche
Cupid and Psyche
Carducho,...
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Psyche Discovers Cupid
Psyche Discovers Cupid
Crespi, Giuseppe...
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When she discovered that the man who slept near her was the god of love himself, she began to tremble and she spilled the oil from the lamp on him.
Psyche and Cupid, circa 1627
Psyche and Cupid, circa 1627
Vouet, Simon
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Cupid and Psyche
Cupid and Psyche
Regnault,...
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Psyche and Cupid, Ceiling Panel from the Salon de La Princesse
Psyche and Cupid,...
Charles Joseph...
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Cupid woke up in pain, because he had been burned, and left her. She tried to stop him, but it was in vain.

Amor & Psyche
Amor & Psyche
Medard, Eugene
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After he left her, he went directly to his mother's place, to heal his wounds. Unhappy because of his marriage, Venus/Aphrodite scolded him for his love.
Cupid is Scolded by His Mother Aphrodite for Loving Psyche
Cupid is Scolded by His Mother Aphrodite for Loving Psyche
Mullock, Dorothy
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Poor Psyche, abandoned, was so desperate, that she wanted to kill herself, but god Pan convinced her not to do it.

Pan is Consulted by Psyche Concerning Her Relationship with Cupid
Pan is Consulted by Psyche Concerning Her Relationship with Cupid
Rothaug, Alex
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An Important Italian Whit...


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Psyche
Augustin Pajou


While the poor girl was looking for Venus, the goddess was looking for her. A servant found Psyche and brought her before Venus, who told her to complete different tasks:
- to separate the seeds of wheat, barley, poppy, peas, and beans from a big heap
- to bring her the fleece of the golden sheep
- to bring her a bottle of water from the Styx river
- and, finally, Venus sent Psyche to Hades, to bring her some beauty from Proserpina.

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Charon and Psyche
John Stanhope


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Psyche's Last Trek


Helped by many, Psyche managed to do what she had been ordered. But, in the end, when she got the little jar with beauty, she was so curious, that she opened it. Inside there was no beauty, but a deadly sleep, so she fell asleep. In the meantime, Cupid managed to get out of his mother's house and began to search for his beloved wife. When he found her, he wiped away the sleep, and she returned to life.

Cupid took Psyche to the Olympus and asked Jupiter to allow them to be married.

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Ravissement De Psyche
Adolphe Bouguereau


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Cupid and Psyche, 1889
William-Adolphe Bouguereau


Jupiter allowed it and Mercury offered Psyche a drink that made her immortal.
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Mercury Offering The Cup ...


So, in the end, Cupid and Psyche got married and lived happily ever after (they could, as they were both immortal).

The Banquet of the Gods, Ceiling Painting of the Courtship and Marriage of Cupid and Psyche
The Banquet of the Gods, Ceiling Painting of the Courtship and Marriage of Cupid and Psyche
, Raphael
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Here are some paintings from Palazzo Te, in Mantova, Italy, in the "Cupid and Psyche Room". The room is entirely afrescoed and it is a symbol of the love of the Duke of Mantova, Federico II Gonzaga, for Isabella Boschetto. Notice the special perspective in the painting on the ceiling (the painter, Giulio Romano, liked experiments).
Bbanquet Celebrating the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche from the Sala Di Amore E Psiche, 1527-31
Bbanquet Celebrating the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche from the Sala Di Amore E Psiche, 1527-31
Romano, Giulio
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The Rustic Banquet Celebrating the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche, from Sala Di Amore E Psiche, 1528
The Rustic Banquet Celebrating the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche, from Sala Di Amore E Psiche, 1528
Romano, Giulio
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Room of Psyche: Vault (Wedding of Cupid and Psyche)
Room of Psyche: Vault (Wedding of Cupid and Psyche)
Romano, Giulio
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Of course, I can't leave aside two of the most beutiful statues representing Cupid and Psyche, the work of the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova.

Cupid and Psyche, Venus and Adonis also Said
Cupid and Psyche, Venus and Adonis also Said
Canova, Antonio
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Cupid and Psyche, 1796
Cupid and Psyche, 1796
Canova, Antonio
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For some more pictures of Cupid and Psyche, click here.

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