The Cupid and Psyche Kiss is located in the Capitoline Museums, in Rome.
This sculpture dates from the first or second century AD and is a Roman copy of a Greek original from the second century BC. The sculpture was discovered in 1749 on the Aventine Hill in Rome. The sculpture represents a kiss between Cupid and Psyche as told in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses or The Golden Ass.
Psyche was known for her beauty, so much so that her admiration rivaled that of Venus. As the story goes, Venus sends her son Cupid to strike Psyche with an arrow in the hopes that she will fall in love with the first thing she will see, and as Venus planned it this would be a monster. Cupid is struck by Psyche’s beauty and accidentally pierces himself with the arrow and as a result falls in love with Psyche. Psyche is then faced with a curse by Venus (to never be proposed to), isolation by her father (upon a mountain top), and given three challenges by Venus (in order to find Cupid). After completing the third and final task, collecting some of Proserpina’s beauty from the underworld, Psyche is cursed with eternal slumber. This slumber is broken by Cupid’s kiss, which leads to their marriage at Mount Olympus.
Did you know?:
This sculpture was one of those moved to France under the Treaty of Tolentino 1797, a peace treaty between Revolutionary France and the Papal States. This treaty included the sequestration of art work from the Papal States, of which the French commissioners were free to choose. Over one hundred works of art were to be moved from the Vatican Museums to the Louvre as a result of this treaty. With further treaties with other Italian states, in 1798 this removal of art spread to include all of Italy. Most of these works were returned after the fall of Napoleon, including the Cupid and Psych which was returned to the Capitoline Museums.