Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cupid & Psyche

Psyche Honoured by the People

Neopolitan Baroque painter Luca Giordano (1634-1705) served at the Spanish court for a time. There he produced these oils on copper, episodes from the story of Cupid & Psyche. King Carlos II or his mother are thought to have commissioned the paintings in the 1690s. By the 1790s they were hanging in the bedchamber of George III at Buckingham House. Curators from the Royal Collection offer more details about the narrative 

"There are twelve surviving coppers in the series by Giordano, all in the Royal Collection, which tell only half of the story of Cupid and Psyche. In Apuleius’s story the beauty of Psyche, the third daughter of a king and queen, is so great that people pay homage to her rather than the goddess Venus: ‘as she walked the streets the people crowded to adore her with garlands and flowers’. In her jealousy Venus summons Cupid, ‘that winged son of hers, that most reckless of creatures’, and commands him to arouse in her [Psyche] a burning love for an unworthy husband, ‘cursed by Fortune in rank, in estate, in condition so that Psyche would be mortified’. In the first of the paintings in Giordano’s series Venus is shown pointing out Psyche to Cupid who, contrary to plan, falls in love with her."

Psyche's Parents Offering Sacrifice to Apollo

Psyche Exposed on a Rock

Psyche Transported and Discovering Cupid's Palace

Psyche Served by Invisible Spirits

Cupid Visiting the Sleeping Psyche

Psyche's Sisters Giving Her a Lamp and a Dagger

Psyche Discovering the Sleeping Cupid

Cupid Abandoning Psyche

Venus Learns of Cupid's Plight

Venus Chides Cupid

Venus Punishing Psyche with a Task