“Psyche is a princess who is so beautiful that people begin to treat her like a goddess, making symbolic gestures and even sacrifices to her. The goddess Venus is jealous of this and decides as her revenge she will ask her son Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with some ugly mortal. Cupid reluctantly agrees, and flies to Psyche’s bedside. But as he is about to shoot one of his fateful arrows, Psyche wakes up, startles him, and he scratches his own leg. He falls in love with her.
Meanwhile, Psyche’s parents are concerned that Psyche has no suitors. She is so beautiful that no one dares to propose to her. They go to an oracle of Apollo, which instructs them to prepare her for marriage as one would be prepared for human sacrifice. The parents tearfully carry out this instruction, escorting her in procession to the top of a cliff. Psyche accepts her fate boldly, saying she is eager to meet her beautiful new husband.
The parents and their entourage leave Psyche to her fate. Psyche is then transported to a wood, where she finds a beautiful palace. She goes in, and begins to live there, served by invisible spirits. She even has an invisible lover. But he tells her she is not allowed to look at him directly, and he visits her only at night. She doesn’t even know who he is.
But Psyche can hear the voices of her sisters calling to her from the mortal realm. She goes back to visit them. They hear her stories about her new life, and jealously they urge to look at her husband, raising doubts in her mind that he might be a monster. So that night she looks at him, using a lamp. She sees that he is a god. But she frightens him, and he jostles the lamp, spilling hot oil on himself, which injures him. He leaves her and goes back to the realm of the gods.
Psyche returns home and is miserable. She then goes to temples and makes sacrifices to all the gods to find out which one it was that had been her lover. The only god who will answer her is Venus. The god turns out to be none other than her son Cupid (i.e. Desire or Eros; Venus means sexual desire, and Psyche’s name in turn means “soul”). Psyche begs Venus to help her find Cupid, and Venus then imposes a series of labors on Psyche - including a descent into Hades. Psyche is able to achieve these labors with help from divine assistants, including, for the last labor, Cupid himself.
Her successful completion of the labors means that Psyche is at last able to marry Cupid officially - she becomes immortal and they are united in eternity.
Then Psyche and Cupid have a baby, Voluptas (Pleasure) - who was, however, conceived before their official wedding.”
tagged as: cupid, psyche, psyche received by cupid's kiss, sculpture, neoclassism, antonio canova,
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