I recently quoted Pope Benedict XVI who said “Only when body and soul are united can eros be healed and be restored to its true grandeur”
Well this is one of my all time favourite sculptures, which I first discovered in Paris 17 years ago. On approaching this darling sculpture you intimately become one with its elegant tenderness, which is almost balletesque. For me it is the perfect pure merging of the transcendent self with the spiritual. A heavenly union.
Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Amor (Eros). Antonio Canova (Italian, 1757–1822) Marble, 1793.
“This winged young man who has just landed on a rock where a girl lies unconscious, is the god Eros – Cupid in Latin – and can be recognized by his wings and his quiver filled with arrows. The girl’s name is Psyche. Cupid’s mother Venus, goddess of Beauty, demanded that Psyche bring back a flask from the Underworld, strictly forbidding her to open it.
But Psyche’s curiosity got the better of her; and no sooner had she breathed in the terrible fumes than she fell into a deep, deathlike sleep. Seeing her lying motionless, Cupid rushed to her and touched her gently with the tip of his arrow, to make sure she was not dead. This is the moment caught by the sculptor: Cupid lifts his beloved Psyche in a tender embrace, his face close to hers. Psyche lets herself sink slowly backwards, languorously taking her lover’s head between her hands.”
Canova took his inspiration from a legend recounted by Latin author Apuleius in the Metamorphoses At the close of the tale the gods decide in council to grant Cupid Psyche’s hand in marriage, according her immortality and making her the goddess of the Soul.
The story of Cupid and Psyche, found in the novel, ‘Metamorphoses’ (a.k.a. ‘The Golden Ass’) written by the 2nd century AD novelist and rhetorician, Apuleius (Cupid and Psyche), has all the qualities of a great fairy tale. Beauty, hopelessness, humility, solace, hope, manipulation, destruction, sacrifice, persecution, endurance, trust, mercy, Love and Truth, and rightly so an eternally happy ever after.