William Bouguereau's Cupid and Psyche is one of the artist's better known paintings. As with many others, it is based on mythology and may be interpreted as an example of the power of love overcoming evil intent. What was meant for evil in this case has turned out to be good. Perhaps that is why the artist has explored this story so many times.
William Bouguereau, like many other artists, has received both praise and disparaging remarks for his legacy. Many argue that he is one of the greatest painters of the human figure to have ever lived. His subjects are varied. In this painting, his subjects are youthful. However, they are rendered with the same accuracy and attention to detail paid to his older subjects.
Bouguereau has left a lasting legacy as one of the artists who helped female artists to make strides in their work. Through his efforts, the doors of formal study in art were opened to women in France. His respect for the human form is paramount and his studies of anatomy are obvious in this piece and in the others related to this story.
Bouguereau is famed as much for his love of mythology as his exquisite Classic style. Smooth strokes of the brush are used to create remarkable figures which are carefully posed on canvas. Mythology played a central role in many of his pieces. His knowledge of stories of fictional deities served to inspire him throughout his career.
Perhaps he was captivated by the stories because they reflected some of what he saw happening in the lives of others around him. Certainly, the theme of love and obstacles to love has been explored in many ways by several artists. It is one that is ageless.
This oil on canvas painting was completed in 1889. While this is well known, it is not his only painting of these two figures. In fact, he has explored their story in visual form on several occasions. Each painting is different and he never seems to tire of looking at their story from another perspective. The Rapture of Psyche is just one of many compositions that art lovers who are fond of this favourite theme of Bouguereau's will enjoy.