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  • Writer's pictureDeb Smithers

The Louvre, Paris & Cupids Kiss

What is real love? Do we all define it differently? I believe it is something you know immediately, you know for certain, that this is where you should be or want to be. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I have always had a great fondness for the divine story of love, Cupid and Psyche. I always wanted to see the statue, and at last one day, I did!

On my first trip to Europe, I was lucky enough to see Paris, and unbelievably managed to get myself into the Louvre Museum. It had been booked out for a week already and I had succumbed to the belief that there was no possibility of entering the museum on this trip. But this one very day I was extremely lucky to have been met by a French angel shall I say, who did manage to get me into the Museum, for the entire day with a guide for free. I really did feel like I was dreaming. (This was a story in itself that I will link to).

It was on this day that I finally got to see for myself the statue of Cupid and Psyche, in the Louvre Museum, in Paris and felt immense gratitude.

The grounds of the Louvre Museum, Paris
Louvre Museum Paris

I fell in love with the sculpture and the tale of Cupid's kiss, based on The Golden Ass by roman author, Apuleius, 2nd century AD. The sculpture is soft and flowing, the composition and subtle carving of the marble is a testament to Canova's great skill. The wings appear translucent and the figure's skin seems almost real to touch.

The craftmanship of the sculptor is evident in the skin of figures looking real to touch

Cupid and Psyche with skin looking real to touch

It is passionate and real, the story has been repeated in poetry, drama, opera and paintings.

Cupid and Psyche statues with garden background

I remember standing facing the statue for so long, I was just so enchanted by how beautiful it was.

Cupid and Psyche statue. Louvre Museum., Paris.

"As she reaches up Cupid gently holds her by supporting her head and breast".

Cupid and Psyche. Photo taken from the Museum

Psyche, the goddess of soul and Cupid the god of love.

A story of overcoming the obstacles of their love.

The backstory of it goes like this -

Venus, the love goddess, is the mother to Cupid. The fame of Psyche's unimaginable beauty was a threat to Venus and she sends Cupid to work her revenge.

She demands that her son make Psyche fall in love with a hideous, unworthy man.

Instead, Cupid falls for Psyche, he is so enamored and instead rescues and hides her in his palace. Each night visiting her but she must not look at him.

Psyche's jealous sisters convince her that he must be a monster and to look at him in the daylight.

And so she did, and startled by how handsome he was, she stumbles and she wakes him by spilling hot oil from the lantern.

Although promising never to look at him again, he then abandons her because she broke her bond

She wanders the earth in search of him and in desperation she submits to the services of Venus and Psyche is sent on a series of quests.

Each time she despairs, and each time she is given divine aid. Her last task is to retrieve a dose of Proserpina's beauty from the underworld and bring it to Venus.

She is successful and as she is returning, she cannot resist and opens the box in the hope of benefiting from it herself, but poisoned by the fumes and on the brink of death she falls into a lifeless sleep.

Cupid finds Psyche and rushing to her rescue by pricking her finger with one of his arrows and reviving her with a kiss he returns the sleep back into the box. Later Cupid grants Psyche immortality so they can wed as equals.

Did Cupid and Psyche in turn have a happy ending after all that?

Cupid asked his new love never to look at his form. Being a mere mortal, if she was to look upon him, she could be harmed. Despite this they were happy together. Psyche was so happy that she did not ask to see her husband and had no idea that Cupid was in fact a God.

Cupid's kiss

The story of Cupid and Psyche appears in Greek art as early as the 4th century BC

Italian artist Antonio Canova

Psyche revived by Cupid's kiss 1787-1793

Louvre Museum, Paris


Regarded as a masterpiece of neoclassical sculpture but shows the mythical lovers at a moment of great emotion, characteristic of the emerging movement of Romanticism.

White and Pink Peony. Green folage

It reminds me, as is often said, it's when you would swim across rivers, climb mountains and cross the world for that person that you know.

I know, I've done it myself.

It is what we call real love.

See post on Paris, Louvre Museum as the link arrives.


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