Antonio Canova's Sculpture: Psyche Revived by Love's Kiss Essay

Hilary Sans GEN 143 A Assignment 1 Word Count: Antonio Canova’s Sculpture: Psyche Revived by Love’s Kiss This statue follows a common theme about the Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses, which have always had an intriguing amount of drama. This in which gave the sculptors and artists of many decades time to express these feelings throughout their work. This particular sculpture is done by Antonio Canova about the story of Psyche and how Cupid awoke her with a kiss after completing tasks put forth to her by Venus.

With a undeniable theme of “Lust” or “Love”, this piece most definitely had caught my eye. Just another girl getting caught up in those mushy love stories! When taking a look at this piece of artwork, the first thing I noticed was the way that Cupid is holding Psyche in such a delicate manner, and also how Psyche is caressing Cupid’s hair. This is definitely an act of care towards each other, and is an obvious display that Cupid is “rescuing” Psyche from her deep sleep.

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Little did we know, that Cupid was sent to make Psyche fall in love with a monster but fell for her beauty and instead pricked himself with the arrow so that he would fall in love with her. Another characteristic that I called attention upon was the very soft lines in which their body is positioned. This conveys a much more frangible moment and a more elegant movement in the piece. With this delicateness of the curves, I also noticed that Cupid looks like he is almost balancing on his toes.

This implies that he is light and “flighty” as Cupid should be. He does not have a muscular structure because Canova probably wanted to capture the fact that Cupid is not usually considered a “powerful” God, but more of a young boy. Cupid is also grasping Psyche’s breast which, once again, implies that he is the God of lust which is usually associated with the act of physical relations with one another.

This art piece was created with the neoclassical style which uses a lot more emotion in the facial features and their limbs were sculpted in such a manner that looks like they could move. This sculpture also shows narrative and tells the story, the story between the two characters. Their positioning shows what may happen next, and obviously Cupid (the God of Lust himself) has fallen for Psyche. This style also uses a imperfect forms of the body, the limbs are elongated and dramatic.

In previous art periods, the imperfect body was not accepted as true fine art and going out of these standards could have meant not getting as much recognition as an artist. Overall, this piece has been able to capture the beauty between the two lovers and a definite story told of lust for another despite what Cupid’s mother, Venus, had ordered him to do out of jealousy. I must say that I really enjoyed “stumbling upon” this piece and it had intrigued me to take a look at more of Antonio Canova’s pieces. Lust? Love? Who knows what it was, but the sculpture is gorgeous.


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