In the last two posts I talked about a museum and an exhibition, now I'd like to go back to work of arts and in particular to sculpture and to talk you about one of the most famous Neoclassical statues: Psyche revived by Cupid's kiss by Antonio Canova (now at the Louvre museum).
Canova made this statue in 1787. It's inspired to Apuleius' novel "The Golden Ass", where three (from eleven) books are dedicated to the story of Cupid and Psyche: Psyche was the most beautiful woman in the world and Cupid fell in love with her and decided to marry her, hiding his identity. They only met during the night so that Psyche didn't know who his husband was, but still she was in love with him. Psyche's sisters were jealous of her happiness, so they fooled her into discovering her husband's identity: Cupid became furious and banished her from their home. She had to face many tests to reunite with Cupid, and in the end she fell into a coma, and only Cupid's kiss could awaken her.
And this is the moment represented by Canova.
The choice of the theme perfectly fit into Neoclassicism: it refers to a Latin novel from the II century and it revolves around love.
This masterpiece respects the rules of the ancient Greek sculpture and it's based on diagonal lines: Cupid's wings create two crossed diagonals united, through his arms, to the diagonal formed by Psyche's body.
Canova used to work following four steps:
1. Drawing of the statue
2. Terracotta model
3. Plaster (made by his collaborators)
4. Marble statue (scabbled by his collaborators)
Then Canova himself polished it and covered it with wax. Because of the wax, the statue appears to be very shiny: the effect of the wax kinda neutralises the marble's harshness.
The statue is so emotional also because the love between these two character is expressed by their passionate gaze. The scene is blocked in a moment of great grace and sweetness.