27 May 2009

Cupid and Psyche: The 16th Century

The story of Cupid and Psyche from books 4-6 of Apuleius's The Golden Ass has been a favourite subject for artists down the years.

San Francisco's Fine Arts Museums have a set of 37 engravings by Bernardo Daddi illustrating the whole story. A plaque (showing the old woman telling the story) and two plates (showing the adoration of Psyche by the people and Psyche being carried to Cupid's palace by Zephyr) from 1560 painted by Pierre Courteys, which are very similar to the engravings, can be seen in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

A 1593 statue by Adriaan de Vries now in Stockholm's Nationalmuseum shows Psyche with a jar -- presumably containing the beauty potion Venus sent her to borrow from Proserpina. Also by de Vries is the 1593 statue shown below, which is now in Paris's Louvre.

Andrea Schiavone (aka Andrea Medulich or Andrea Meldolla) painted the picture below of Cupid and Psyche's marriage in around 1550. It is now in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, and is reproduced by permission.

Another picture of Cupid and Psyche's marriage, this time by Bartholomeus Spranger, is in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum. Its date is uncertain, but probably before 1587. A third picture of the marriage, by Abraham Bloemaert, is in the Royal Collection and dates to 1593 to 1597. (All images are in the public domain and taken from wikicommons, unless stated otherwise.)

No comments: