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The Abduction of Psyche by Zephyrus to the Palace of Eros, After 1808, probably before 1820

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon
French, 1758-1823
Oil on canvas
39-3/4 x 32-1/2 (101 x 82.5 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

The fable of Psyche was widely read in the early nineteenth century. Renowned for her beauty, Psyche incurred the envy of Aphrodite, who sent her son Eros to make her fall in love with a monstrous creature. Instead, Eros fell in love with Psyche; after she was brought to his palace by Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, they became lovers.

Pierre-Paul Prud’hon’s style benefited from his study of the Renaissance masters, particularly Correggio. His technique made ample use of chiaroscuro, and this in combination with his romantic subject matter accounted for the popularity of his work. Prud’hon’s larger version of this composition was well received in the Salon of 1808. This is one of several copies of the painting made to satisfy the public’s voracious demand after the original, now in the Louvre.

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