Here is the moment when love revives the soul, captured in marble:
Antonio Canova, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, 1793, Louvre Museum, Paris
In Ancient Greek and Roman myth, Psyche is the beautiful mortal who personifies the human soul. Her name and words like “psychology” come from the Greek word “psyche,” which means “the breath of life,” in the sense of soul, spirit or mind.
In the myth, Cupid falls deeply in love with Psyche, but his mother, Venus, hates her because she is becoming more beautiful and loved than the Goddess of Love herself. So Venus plays cruel tricks on Psyche, including one that makes her fall into the deep and hellish sleep of the underworld.
Cupid cannot bear Psyche’s absence. He flies out, manages to find her, and uses his powers to wake her up. That moment is what the statue is about. The moment when love revives the soul and brings it back to life.
Happy Valentine’s Day!