Cupid and Psyche

Artist: Antonio Canova (Italian, Possagno 1757–1822 Venice)

Date: 1794

Culture: Italian, Rome

Medium: Plaster

Dimensions: Overall: 53 × 59 1/2 × 32 in. (134.6 × 151.1 × 81.3 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Isidor Straus, 1905

Accession Number: 05.46


The metal pins inserted over the surface assisted the sculptor in transferring the form of the complex group from the plaster to the block of marble from which the sculpture was carved. Canova made two slightly different versions of this composition. The first, commissioned by a Briton, was later acquired by Napoleon's brother-in-law and is now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. The second, for which this full-scale model was prepared, was made for Prince Nicholas Youssoupov and is now in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg. The plaster was inherited by Canova's assistant, Adamo Tadolini, who used it to replicate additional groups.