Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Love and the Human Soul

~ Amore e Psiche ~, originally uploaded by dujarandille.

While searching around for James Tissot's paintings, I came upon this statue, Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss by Antonio Canova. This can be found in the Louvre and now I remember this as I remember being struck in awe over The Winged Victory of Samothrace. Winged Victory stood out more since it was so much older (190 BC) and I marveled at the movement of the piece. Not only could you feel the sea breeze, but you could tell it was a damp sea breeze. At the time, in 1984, I was 18 years old and developed the deep appreciation for statues. Some people get hung up on where the head or arms are. Fate or circumstances collaborated with the artist to edit the form to its essential being. To me, Winged Victory of Samothrace is absolutely perfect as it is.

Canova's Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss is more conventially beautiful and intact, but still impactful. Psyche's gaze upward and Cupid's tender examination of her face creates a moment where stone isn't stone. This moment is not unlike the moment created in Dore's Enigma between the angel and the Spinx. Instead of the Spinx' paw on the angel's head, you have Cupid cupping her head in his hand. Knowing the legend of Cupid and Psyche adds another layer to this piece. Their daughter is Delight or Goddess of "sensual pleasure," but the relationship between Cupid and Psyche is plagued with problems. Psyche's future Mother-in-law, Goddess of Love, is jealous by her beauty and perhaps doesn't think a mere mortal is good enough for her son. So she devises tests and tricks, which Psyche for the most part passes with help from those who are taken with her. She falls into sleep when she opens the box that was supposed to have beauty in it, but only had a sleep spell. Her vanity sets up this moment where Cupid brings her back from sleep. One could say that this moment in the story portrays how immortality and the divinity appeciates the human soul even in its imperfection.

Thanks dujarandille for taking this photo and capturing its spirit. Photographing a statue requires the ability to find that certain angle and lighting that brings out the essence of the piece. I think dujarandille does this and his sepia filter gives it the sense of romance and warms up the statue.

At some point, I am going to have to share with you my impressions of my visit to see Michaelangelo's David and his unfinished pieces in Florence, Italy.

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