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The Abduction of Psyche by Zephyrus to the Palace of Eros, After 1808, probably before 1820

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon

French, 1758-1823
Oil on canvas
39-3/4 x 32-1/2 (101 x 82.5 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1985.1.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

Jean La Fontaine's translation of the fable of Psyche, derived from a second-century romance by Lucius Apuleius entitled "Metamorphoses" or "The Golden Ass," was widely read in the early 19th century. Renowned for her beauty, Psyche had incurred the envy of Venus, who sent Cupid to make her fall in love with a monstrous creature. Instead, Cupid fell in love with Psyche; after she was brought to him they became lovers. Prud'hon's style benefitted from the study of the Renaissance masters, particularly Correggio. His technique made ample use of chiaroscuro, and this in combination with his amorous subject matter accounts for the popularity of this picture in its own time. This is one of several copies of the painting Prud'hon made to satisfy the public's voracious demand after the original, now in the Louvre, was successfully exhibited in two Salons.

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