The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of February 17, 2018

Cupid and Psyche, 1817

oil on canvas, Framed: 221 x 282 x 10 cm (87 x 111 x 3 7/8 in.); Unframed: 184.2 x 241.6 cm (72 1/2 x 95 1/16 in.). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1962.37

David used the story of Cupid and Psyche to explore the conflict between idealized love and physical reality. Cupid, lover of the beautiful mortal Psyche, visited her nightly on the condition that she not know his identity. Cupid was usually depicted as an ideal adolescent, but here David presents him as an ungainly teenager smirking at his sexual conquest.David took inspiration from a number of ancient texts, including an obscure, recently published Greek poem by Moschus that describes Cupid as a mean-spirited brat with dark skin, flashing eyes, and curly hair.

Signed in yellow in arm of the couch: L. David 1817 Bruxelles

Gent, City Hall. (1817) (according to Dowd 1956).
Brussels, Musée Royal de Bruxelles. (1817) ("au profit des hospices de Sainte-Gudule et des Ursulines," see Wildenstein and Wildenstein 1973).
Paris, Galerie Lebrun. (1826) ("au profit des Grecs," according to David, exh. cat., Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries [1948]).
Paris, Palais des Beaux Arts. David et ses élèves (1913), no. 60, L'Amour et Psyché, appartient à S. A. le Prince Murat.
Paris, Petit Palais. Gros, ses amis, ses élèves (1936), no. 218, L'amour et psyché, à S. A. la Princesse Murat.
Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries. David: Exposition en l'honneur du deuxième centenaire de sa naissance (1948), no. 72, à la Princesse Murat, Paris.
Paris, Galerie Charpentier. Figures nues d'école française (1953), no. 45 (repr.).
cma. Neoclassicism, Style and Motif (1964), no. 116 (repr.).
Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition 1915-1965 (1965-66), no. 21.
London, Royal Academy; Victoria and Albert Museum. The Age of Neo-Classicism (1972), no. 71 (repr.).
J. Paul Getty Museum (2/1/2005-4/24/2005) and the Clark Art Institute (6/5/2005-9/5/2005): "Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile" ex. cat. no. 32, p. 231-232.
Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, OH (1/30/2006 - 4/2/2006): "CMA @ Oberlin," no catalogue.
The Frick Collection (November 8, 2006 - January 28, 2007): "Masterpieces of European Painting from The Cleveland Museum of Art", exh. cat. no. 13, p. 64-69.
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage (March 29, 2007 - July 8, 2007): "Masterpieces of European Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art"
Baur, Eva Gesine. Meisterwerke der erotischen Kunst. Bonn: VG Bild-Kunst, 2002. Pg 173, fig 4.
Cavicchioli, Sonia. Amore e Psiche. Milano: Alberto Maioli Editore, 2002. Pg 209, no 148.

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Library materials about Jacques-Louis David (88)

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