L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cupid and Psyche, by Alphonse Legros, exhibited 1867

Alphonse Legros (8 May 1837, Dijon – 8 December 1911, Watford), French painter, etcher, sculptor, and medallist. The son of an accountant, he was first sent to art school with a view to eventually working in the Decorative Arts. He went to Paris in 1851 to study with a theatrical scene painter, and four years later began to attend evening classes at the École des Beaux Arts. He would align himself with the Realist painters who were in the orbit of Courbet, but gaining little success in his home country, in 1863 he moved to England, where he married, and where he became a naturalized citizen in 1881. At first he got by with his etching and giving lessons, then became teacher of etching at the South Kensington School of Art, and in 1876 Slade Professor at University College, London. He was an energetic and imaginative instructor and advisor. He retired in 1892, and died at the age of seventy-four.

This painting is part of the Tate Collection. The display caption reads:

The Roman poet Lucius Apuleius wrote the tale of Cupid and Psyche. Psyche was given a box containing beauty for the goddess Venus. But she could not resist looking inside it and was sent into a deep sleep. Legros shows the moment when her lover, Cupid, discovers her in her torpor. He is about to wake her with a touch of his arrow. [...] The composition of the reclining female figure shows the influence of Italian artists such as Giorgione and Titian, as well as Rembrandt.

I can't see where Rembrandt comes into it at all, but the other two masters are quite aptly referenced.

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