Amour et Psyché
That low-relief reproduces a painting by François GERARD (1770-1837), «Psyché et l’Amour, also referred to as Psyché recevant le premier baiser de l’Amour»,presented at the Paris Salon in 1798.
« Young princess Psyché is surprised and disconcerted by the first kiss she receives from Cupid (Eros) whom she cannot see. The antique myth is a love story as well as a spiritual allegory : Psyché personifies human soul. The original painting by François Gérard, a former student of French painter Louis David, shows the evolution of neoclassicism towards the expression of sensuality and a kind of formal abstraction.”
Psyché, a princess whose beauty provoked Venus’s jealousy, is beloved by the goddess’s son Cupid or Eros. Gérard represented Cupid as he plants his first kiss on Psyché’s forehead but she cannot see her divine lover. Surprised and disconcerted Psyché modestly folds up her arms on her naked bust. That scene symbolizes the first emotion of nascent love.
Moreover, Gérard painted a butterfly over the young lady’s head : the Greek word for butterfly is precisely “Psyché” and that insect symbolizes human soul.
Limestone cast. Wooden frame.
Completing time : 11 months