Cupid and Psyche

Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641)

Cupid and Psyche

1639-40

Oil on canvas

200.2 x 192.6 cm

Painted for Charles I


This is the only surviving mythological painting from Van Dyck's employment as Charles I's court artist. It may be one of a series of canvases illustrating the story of Cupid and Psyche ordered for the Queen’s House at Greenwich. In classical mythology, Venus set Psyche a number of tasks, the last of which was to bring her a small portion of Proserpine’s beauty from Hades in an unopened casket. Psyche, overcome by curiosity, opened it and released not beauty, but sleep, from which she is roused by Cupid.

RCIN 405571