Guess the Artwork
Amore e Psiche - Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss (1788-1793) by Antonio Canova, Louvre Museum.
It represents the god Cupid awakening the lifeless Psyche with a kiss. The story of Cupid and Psyche is taken from Lucius Apuleius' Latin novelThe Golden Ass which was popular in art.
It is a neoclassical masterpiece, although the choice of depicting the lovers in the height of love and tenderness, emphasising their emotional engagment, is a characteristic of the emerging movement of Romanticism.
Canova undertook extensive research before beginning this complex composition and his inspiration was a Roman painting found in Herculaneum, from were he copied the man’s kneeling position, the woman’s reclining pose and the movement of her arms. Modeled numerous clay figures, he then perfected the composition to bring out the intertwining of the bodies, combining real equilibrium with a powerful, complex rotation.
The position of the legs of Psyche and Cupid creates a pyramid shape which grounds the composition solidly on the rock shaped basis. Then starting from Cupid’s right foot, the upward movement follows the line of their arms in an affirmation of her return to life that makes the composition turn. The vertical position of the wings enhances the rising movement.