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Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Psyche showing her Sisters her Gifts from Cupid

Key facts
Full title Psyche showing her Sisters her Gifts from Cupid
Artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Artist dates 1732 - 1806
Date made 1753
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 168.3 × 192.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1978
Inventory number NG6445
Location Room 33
Collection Main Collection
Psyche showing her Sisters her Gifts from Cupid
Jean-Honoré Fragonard

This is an early work by Fragonard, which was presented to Louis XV at Versailles in 1753. It illustrates an episode from the classical story of Cupid and Psyche, retold in a book by Jean de La Fontaine. Having fallen in love with Psyche, Cupid only visited her at night, forbidding her to look at him. Here we see Psyche, dressed in white and waited upon by nymphs, welcoming her two sisters into Cupid’s palace where she shows them the gifts she has received. Provoked by envy – represented by an allegorical figure above them clutching snakes – the two sisters persuade Psyche to reveal Cupid’s identity and thereby destroy her happiness. It has been suggested that the figure of Psyche here may have been inspired by the King’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour.

The scene is filled with luxury items, flowers and jewels, but some of the original details are missing as the picture has been cut down.

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