Alphonse Legros

Cupid and Psyche

exhibited 1867

In Tate Britain
Artist
Alphonse Legros 1837–1911
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1168 x 1414 mm
frame: 1475 x 1747 x 115 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Sir Charles Holroyd 1918
Reference
N03274

Display caption

The tale of Cupid and Psyche was written by the Roman poet Lucius Apuleius. Psyche was given a box, supposedly containing beauty for the goddess Venus. She was told not to open it, but could not resist looking inside, causing her to fall into a deep sleep. Legros shows the moment when her lover, Cupid, discovers her. He is about to wake her with a touch of his arrow. Legros was born in France but fellow artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler encouraged him to move 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, April 2018

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