(b. 1563, Pisa, d. 1639, London)

Cupid and Psyche

Oil on canvas, 137 x 160 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

The story of Cupid and Psyche is not a myth but a late antique fairy tale, by Lucius Apuleius (2nd century AD) in the Metamorphoses, or Golden Ass. Psyche was a maiden so beautiful that she aroused even Venus' envy. Cupid, sent by the goddess to arouse Psyche's love in some worthless being, fell in love with her himself.

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