Cupid And Psyche From Apuleius Metamorphoses

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The story of Cupid and Psyche from Apuleius' Metamorphoses (The Golden Ass) is one that covers themes of love, trust, betrayal, and the relationships between each. It's a story that has inspired artists through the ages to explore their story through artistic expression and various mediums. This comparative analysis will evaluate and compare the Neoclassical sculpture (e.g. see fig. 1) Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss by Italian artist Antonio Canova with the Romanticized Classical oil painting (e.g. see fig. 2) Psyche et L' Amour by French academic artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau. This paper will explain how each artwork reveals the style and historical context of its period, discuss the visual and thematic themes of its style, as well as…show more content…
The piece seems simplistic at first, but a deeper look reveals the great passion and emotion of the subjects and the artist. The sculpture is a combination of classical and erotic styles and depicts the god Cupid in an intimate moment of loving tenderness after reviving his beloved Psyche from a deathlike sleep with his kiss. The scene is taken from The Metamorphoses of Apuleius' (also known as "The Golden Ass"). A masterwork of its era, it pleases the visual and tactile senses, but still "alludes to the Romantic interest in emotion co-existing with Neoclassicism" ( Canova's masterpiece captures an emotional moment of passion, which clearly alludes to the emerging movement into Romanticism (Johns Christopher). The statue is static with dominant diagonal lines reminiscent of Bernini's style, but the modern interpretation of this mythological scene is clearly motivated by the classical style of Greek and Roman artists. The sculpture captures the simplistic harmony and elevation of human form reminiscent of ancient Greek and Roman…show more content…
The romanticized classical oil painting was created towards the end of a long career painting beautiful men and women posed as mythological or religious subjects. He was outrivaled at painting realistically human flesh and was considered one of history's greatest artistic geniuses (Bartoli and Ross). This beautiful life-sized oil painting depicting Psyche and Cupid's ascent to Mount Olympus to attend their wedding feast at Jupiter's table is painted in wonderful contrasting tones that create a harmonious sense of unity, reflecting the union of the lover's in flight. Bouguereau successfully captures the academic technique of combining precise lines and contours while emphasizing color, light, and shadow. The image is almost photo-realistic, perhaps because the soft glaze given to the subjects through a chiaroscuro quality does not reveal a single stroke of the brush. The palette is delivered with great passion and insight. Cupid is seen modestly wrapped in blue, perhaps to symbolize his realm of the sky, and as he rises, we can see that the action of the painting lies with him as he grasps Psyche lovingly lifting her in the direction of his pointing hand. The erotic element is centered on Psyche as she is depicted without the modest coverings of her lover. Eroticism was a

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