Psyche Deserted by Cupid

WAG 2113


This painting is inspired by the stories known as The Golden Ass by the ancient Latin author Apuleius. The goddess Venus became jealous of Psyche’s beauty and sent her son Cupid to tempt her and seek revenge. Cupid fell in love with Psyche, visiting her by night to conceal his identity. Desperate to see her lover, Psyche discovers Cupid with the light of an oil lamp. She is pierced by his arrow and consigned to love him for eternity. She spills hot oil from the lamp on his skin and he flees from the room. Watts shows Psyche alone, looking at a feather which has fallen from Cupid’s wing, beside the lamp.