CANOVA, Antonio
(b. 1757, Possagno, d. 1822, Venezia)

Cupid and Psyche

Marble, height 155 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Canova managed to combine the classical mode with consummate eroticism. His Cupid and Psyche is a masterpiece of this genre. This group was executed in the period between the two versions of the Theseus myth. This sculpture elicited violent applause from its admirers and the most disparaging remarks from its critics. Cupid and Psyche are turned towards each other in sensual love, and Canova had succeeded in presenting a highly expressive treatment of the theme of love from Greek mythology.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 4 minutes):
Francesco Gasparini: The Meddlesome Cupid, aria