Skip to main content

Claude, 'The Enchanted Castle', 1664

Key facts
Full title Landscape with Psyche outside the Palace of Cupid ('The Enchanted Castle')
Artist Claude
Artist dates 1604/5? - 1682
Date made 1664
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 87.1 × 151.3 cm
Acquisition credit Bought with contributions from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund, 1981
Inventory number NG6471
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Enchanted Castle

Threatened with marriage to a monster Psyche, a mortal, is blown away by the West Wind. She awakens near a magical palace and falls in love with Cupid. He makes Psyche promise not to look at his divine face, but she breaks this promise and Cupid abandons her. The subject of this painting is taken from Apuleius' Metamorphoses.

Psyche sits in the foreground, deep in thought or melancholy. Claude perhaps shows the moment before Psyche meets Cupid rather than when he leaves her. Alternatively, this scene may represent another episode in the story when Psyche is alone, when her two jealous sisters leave after persuading her to murder Cupid. The two figures in the boat on the right are perhaps her sisters.

Cupid’s enchanted castle combines architecture seen by Claude in and around Rome with the imaginary: the grand exterior of a townhouse or palazzo is attached to circular towers and ruins. The imposing rocky hillside and sheltered seaside cove show Claude’s imagination and skill at conveying perspective and scale.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo