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Answers for Cupid and Psyche

How to read the painting of cupid and psyche

Fifteen episodes from the story appear across the panel. Many involve the same characters and all take place against a simple background and landscape. Psyche appears twleve times - eleven as a women in a white dress and once as a baby. This method of visual storytelling is called ‘continuous narrative’ and is inspired by classical models such as Roman sarcophagi. This might be confusing today when we are used to seeing single frames of action. However, this was a familiar way of telling stories in Renaissance Italy.

What happens next?

​The story continues on a second panel (in a private collection). Cupid returns to his mother Venus, Psyche searches for him and is captured and enslaved by Venus. Cupid pleads with Jupiter, king of the Gods, to free Psyche. He agrees, and Cupid and Psyche are finally married. Does the story remind you of any other stories you know?

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