Style Other / Ref.10971
Auguste MOREAU (1834-1917) Cupid and Psyche
Width: 15'' 38cm
Height: 31'' ½ 80cm
Depth: 17'' ⅜ 44cm
France, 19th century
Statuary Carrara marble
Base in Petit Antique marble hooped with Sarrancolin marble
H. : 80 cm (31’’ 1/2), W. : 38 cm (14’’ 15/16), D. : 44 cm (17’’ 5/16)
Base diameter : 35 cm (13 » » 3/4)
c. 1890, signed : « Auguste Moreau »
This statuary marble sculpture representing Cupid and Psyche as two children has been realised by Auguste Moreau, son of the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Moreau and brother of the sculptors Hippolyte Moreau and Mathurin Moreau during the second half the the 19th century. This statue is quite unique in Auguste Moreau’s work who essentially realised bronzes, many of whom are kept in the Musées des Beaux-Arts of Troyes and Bordeaux.
Cupid and Psyche are sat on a rock. Their bodies are lightly covered by a finely sculpted drapery and by blossoms. Cupid embraces Psyche who kisses him of the forehead while contemplating the roses he’s holding in his hand. Cupid’s is representing with two wings on his back. This group is made in a luxurious Statuary marble characterised by its whitness and by the refined details it allows. A great softness and purity come from this scene representing Cupid and Psyche’s love, a well known theme.
Psyche, daughter of a king and a queen, is such beautiful that all men honour her. Aphrodite is jealous so she asks Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with a hideous creature. Unfortunately, Cupid hurts himself firing his arrow and he falls in love with Psyche. He takes her in his castle, he visits her every night and ask her to swear not to see his face at the risk of losing his love. One night, encouraged by her sisters and full of curiosity, Psyche betrays Cupid and he flees. The two lovers will eventually find their way to each other and reunite, then the immortality will be given to Psyche.
Although this theme inspired the artists to a great extent, fewer are the representations of Cupid and Psyche as children. Cupid who is often represented as a todler is much less depicted like this when it comes to his love with Psyche, then he takes the shape of a young man. However, Auguste Moreau made this choice, in the manner of William Adolphe Bouguereau and his famous canvas Cupid and Psyche exposed at the 1890’s Salon.
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