Cupid and Psyche at The Capitoline Museums: A Sweet, Sentimental, and Tender Kiss
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
This marble sculpture represents the happy union between the God of Love (Cupid) and the enchanting mortal (Psyche), which is recounted in Apuleius’s “Metamorphoses” (also known as “The Golden Ass”). After a turbulent love story, the two get married, and Cupid makes Psyche a goddess. In the “Metamorphoses,” Apuleius describes the two figures as exchanging many lustful kisses.
The grace and balance between the two figures enhances their perfect and harmonious union. Their passionate embrace is uplifting.
This marble sculpture dates back to the middle of the 2nd century; it is a Roman copy of a Greek original that was made in the 2nd century BC. It was discovered in 1749, in a garden on the Aventine Hill in Rome. Today, it stands in the Capitoline Museums.
FIY: This playful and happy embrace stands before the tortured Dying Gaul, a strange juxtaposition of two very contrasting emotions which only seems to accentuate the sweetness of the kiss. It implies that Cupid and Psyche are utterly engrossed in one another, and are completely oblivious to their surroundings.