Object Image

Psyche showing her Sisters her Gifts from Cupid

This is an early work by Fragonard, which was presented to Louis XV at Versailles in 1753. It illustrates an episode from the classical story of Cupid and Psyche, retold in a book by Jean de La Fontaine. Having fallen in love with Psyche, Cupid only visited her at night, forbidding her to look at him. Here we see Psyche, dressed in white and waited upon by nymphs, welcoming her two sisters into Cupid's palace where she shows them the gifts she has received. Provoked by envy - represented by an allegorical figure above them clutching snakes - the two sisters persuade Psyche to reveal Cupid's identity and thereby destroy her happiness. It has been suggested that the figure of Psyche here may have...

Oil on canvas
168.3 x 192.4cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2023

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