Alphonse Legros

Cupid and Psyche

exhibited 1867

Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1168 x 1414 mm
frame: 1475 x 1747 x 115 mm
Bequeathed by Sir Charles Holroyd 1918

Display caption

The Roman poet Lucius Apuleius wrote the tale of Cupid and Psyche. Psyche was given a box containing beauty for the goddess Venus. But she could not resist looking inside it and was sent into a deep sleep. Legros shows the moment when her lover, Cupid, discovers her in her torpor. He is about to wake her with a touch of his arrow. Legros was born in France but James Whistler lured him to London, where he settled in 1863. The composition of the reclining female figure shows the influence of Italian artists such as Giorgione and Titian, as well as Rembrandt.

Gallery label, July 2007