The Abduction of Psyche by Zephyrus to the Palace of Eros

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon (French, 1758-1823)
After 1808, probably before 1820
Oil on canvas 
39-3/4 x 32-1/2 (101 x 82.5 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View

The fable of Psyche was widely read in the early nineteenth century. Renowned for her beauty, Psyche incurred the envy of Aphrodite, who sent her son Eros to make her fall in love with a monstrous creature. Instead, Eros fell in love with Psyche; after she was brought to his palace by Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, they became lovers.

Pierre-Paul Prud’hon’s style benefited from his study of the Renaissance masters, particularly Correggio. His technique made ample use of chiaroscuro, and this in combination with his romantic subject matter accounted for the popularity of his work. Prud’hon’s larger version of this composition was well received in the Salon of 1808. This is one of several copies of the painting made to satisfy the public’s voracious demand after the original, now in the Louvre.


Possibly Prud’hon (Posthumous sale, Paris, 1823, May 13-14, lot 10, sold for 541 francs to);
“Frédéric” [Henry], art expert.
Henry Camille Marcel (1854-1926), Paris, by 1923.
[Dr. Fritz and Dr. Peter Nathan, Zurich, by April 1972.]
[Jan Milner, London, in partnership with Shepherd Gallery Associates, New York, 1978.]
[French & Co., New York, 1979-80.]
(sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 28 May 1981, lot 20, ill., as L’Enlèvement de Psyché, to;)
[Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York, stock no. 2867-6577, sold 25 January 1985 to;]
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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