Psyche in the Temple of Love

Edward John Poynter, 1882

WAG 673

About this object

In Roman mythology, Psyche’s beauty attracted much attention. Venus, the goddess of love, became jealous and tried to get revenge. She convinced Cupid to seduce the young beauty and cause her great sadness. Instead, Cupid fell in love with Psyche and took her to a beautiful palace where he visited her every night, but never during the day, to avoid angering Venus.

In this painting, Psyche is amusing herself by playing with a butterfly, her usual emblem. Both she and the butterfly symbolised the human soul. Psyche entices the butterfly into the palace with a sprig of honeysuckle. The doves of Venus can be seen flying ominously in the background.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Edward John Poynter (British: English, born:1836-03-20, died:1919-07-26)
  • Date
  • Materials
    Canvas; Oil paint
  • Measurements
    canvas/support: 66.3 x 50.7
  • Physical description
    Portrait of a young lady standing near a window playing with a butterfly. She wears a peach coloured gown and head-dress.
  • Related people
    Edward John Poynter (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 673
  • Credit line
    Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by the Arts Section of the Social Science Congress, Liverpool in 1882
  • Location
    Walker Art Gallery, Room 08
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections


Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: 18 E J P 82 (initials (monogram), bottom left)
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
Object view = Fine Art
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