Storie d'amour... Psyché Ranimée par le Baiser de l'Amour
Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss
I stumbled upon this sculpture in the Louvre. I had never heard of it before, but it's beauty completely took my breath away!!! Throughout the Louvre none other was more lovely than this sculpture to me. I stood before Cupid and Psyche for over ten minutes amidst the maddening crowds, to take in every elegant detail, every lush curve, every charged emotion of Antonio Canova's piece and the brilliant composition of his work. The purity of contours and the passionate sweeping movements poignantly captured portray a discrete eroticism in the supple figures. The X shape formed is simply stunning.
The love affair between Cupid (Eros) and Psyche is one of the best known classical myths, recounted in the Latin novel "The Golden Ass" by Apuleius.
"Envious and jealous of the beauty of a mortal girl named Psyche, Venus asks her son Cupid (known to the Greeks as Eros) to use his golden arrows to cause Psyche to fall in love with the vilest creature on earth. Cupid agrees, but then falls in love with Psyche on his own. When he leans over from a distance to kiss her, he causes one of his own arrows to fall forward, piercing him.
When all continue to admire and praise Psyche's beauty, but none desire her as a wife, Psyche's parents consult an oracle, which tells them to leave Psyche on the nearest mountain, for her beauty is so great that she is not meant for (mortal) man. Terrified, they have no choice but to follow the oracle's instructions. But then Zephyrus, the west wind, carries Psyche away to a fair valley and a magnificent palace where she is attended by invisible servants until night falls and in the darkness of night the promised bridegroom arrives and the marriage is consummated. Cupid visits her every night to sleep with her, but demands that she never lights any lamps, since he does not want her to know who he is.
Cupid allows Zephyrus to take Psyche back to her sisters and bring all three down to the palace during the day, but warns that Psyche should not listen to any argument that she should try to discover his true form. The two jealous sisters tell Psyche, then pregnant with Cupid's child, that rumor is that she had married a great and terrible serpent who would devour her and her unborn child when the time came for it to be fed. They urge Psyche to conceal a knife and oil lamp in the bedchamber, to wait till her husband was asleep, and then to light the lamp and slay him at once if it is as they said. Psyche sadly follows their advice. In the light of the lamp Psyche recognizes the fair form on the bed as the god Cupid himself. However, she accidentally pricks herself with an arrow, and is consumed with desire for her husband. She begins to kiss him, but as she does, a drop of oil falls from her lamp onto Cupid's shoulder and wakes him. He flies away, and she falls from the window to the ground, sick at heart.
Psyche then finds herself in the city where one of her jealous elder sisters lives. She tells her what had happened, then tricks her sister into believing that Cupid has chosen her as a wife instead. She later meets her other sister and deceives her likewise. Each returns to the top of the peak and jumps down eagerly, but Zephyrus does not bear them and they fall to their deaths at the base of the mountain.
Psyche searches far and wide for her lover, finally stumbling into a temple where everything is in slovenly disarray. As Psyche is sorting and clearing, Ceres appears, but refuses any help beyond advising Psyche that she must call directly on Venus, the jealous shrew who caused all the problems in the first place. Psyche next calls on Juno in her temple, but Juno, superior as always, gives her the same advice. So Psyche finds a temple to Venus and enters it. Venus orders Psyche to separate all the grains in a large basket of mixed kinds before nightfall. An ant takes pity on Psyche and with its ant companions separates the grains for her.
Venus is outraged at her success and tells her to go to a field where golden sheep graze and get some golden wool. A river-god tells Psyche that the sheep are vicious and strong and will kill her, but if she waits until noontime, the sheep will go to the shade on the other side of the field and sleep; she can then pick the wool that sticks to the branches and bark of the trees. Venus next asks for water flowing from a cleft that is impossible for a mortal to attain and is also guarded by great serpents. This time an eagle performs the task for Psyche. Venus, outraged at Psyche's survival, claims that the stress of caring for her son, made depressed and ill as a result of Psyche's lack of faith, has caused her to lose some of her beauty. Psyche is to go to the Underworld and ask the queen of the Underworld to place a bit of her beauty in a box that Venus had given to Psyche. Psyche decides that the quickest way to the Underworld is to throw herself off some high place and die and so she climbs to the top of a tower. But the tower itself speaks to her and tells her the route that will allow her to enter the Underworld alive and return again, as well as telling her how to get past Cerberus by giving the three-headed dog a small cake; how to avoid other dangers on the way there and back; and most importantly, to eat nothing but coarse bread in the underworld, as eating anything else would trap her there forever. Psyche follows the orders precisely, rejecting all but bread while beneath the Earth.
However when Psyche has left the Underworld, she decides to open the box and take a little bit of the beauty for herself. Inside, she can see no beauty; instead an infernal sleep arises from the box and overcomes her. Cupid (Eros), who had forgiven Psyche, flies to her, wipes the sleep from her face, puts it back in the box, and sends her back on her way. Then Cupid flies to Mount Olympus and begs Jupiter (Zeus), to aid them. Jupiter calls a full and formal council of the gods and declares that it is his will that Cupid marry Psyche. Jupiter then has Psyche fetched to Mount Olympus, and gives her a drink made from Ambrosia, granting her immortality. Begrudgingly, Venus and Psyche forgive each other.
Psyche and Cupid's daughter was Voluptas or Delight, the goddess of "sensual pleasures", whose Latin name means "pleasure" or "bliss"
One of my childhood ambitions was to be an F1 racer.
Here I got a taste of my dream! It was only a computer simulation game, but man it was hard, much more so than go-karting
GASP! At Hotel Costes: €14000 for that Louis XIII Limited Edition Cognac?!! Every sip would cost more than a lavish dinner.
Wedding gowns get a twist of French chic. I personally wouldn't wear something like that on my big day though!
Loved watching him paint and draw. So swift, so pretty.
The sky looks like a watercolor painting doesn't it?
Don't expect English translations in the museums. (Snooty French language pride?)
Parisan al fresco cafes. When in Rome do as the Romans do - face the road. Luckily, French people are very good-looking so its not a bore to watch.
Quaint little stairwell to our apartment :) I wish I had more time to spend in Paris, I feel like we did not do and see enough. I will be back.
* * * Some of my Twitter tweets sent from my iPhone
June 11, 2009 - "Writing, designing, photographing n creating our very own magazine in class. Hard work but Im enjoying it :) Looks nice? "
June 2, 2009 - "Having Durian gelato (vegan style) and comics. Heaven ^_^ "
June 3, 2009 - "Tired me, home sweet home after a bout of fun karaoke "
June 15,2009 - "Trying on a BCBG Max Azria dress. Think it'd be nice with a gold chain belt. To buy or not to buy..? "
Hey I really like your blog! There's a girl who runs a blog called "fashion toast" and you kinda remind me of her except Rumi's (fashion toast blogger) blog is more dedicated to fashion & she is really creative and pretty and has a great style! You should check it out=)!
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