Skip to main content

Look, think, do: Cupid and Psyche

Cupid and Psyche

Description of this object or artwork

Jacopo del Sellaio was born and worked in Florence during the Renaissance, at a time when the city was emerging as the cultural and artistic centre of Europe. He was trained by the painter Fra Filippo Lippi and his style of painting uses a light palette of colours and experiments with linear perspective. He was influenced by the artist Sandro Botticelli who trained with him and their work is similar in style.

This colourful panel is from a 'spalliera', a decorated backboard. It would either be mounted on a wall as a headboard or attached to furniture, most commonly a ‘cassone’ (marriage chest). These special chests were made to celebrate a marriage, and were part of a bride’s dowry. They were filled with expensive linen and cloths and paraded through the streets from the bride’s family home to her new home as part of the wedding celebration. It would then be used as a piece of furniture in the family home for storage and sometimes as a bench to sit on.

You can find out more about this panel painting in this Looking at Collectionsresource.

In 2020, 3800 primary aged children from 40 schools across Cambridgeshire were inpsired to create their own creative responses to Cupid and Psyche. You can find out more about the INSPIRE project, and see some of their beautiful artworks here.

Jacopo del Sellaio (1442 - 1493) c.1473 Tempera and gold on a wooden panel

Look

  • This painting tells the first half of an epic tale and is read from left to right like a cartoon strip
  • How many times can you see Psyche in her white dress?
  • Can you find Cupid? He has wings and a bow and arrow.

Think

  • Find out how to read the story here.
  • What do you think happens next?

Do

Collections record

M.75
Collection record: 627

Highlight record

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...

University of Cambridge Museums logo
Cambridge City Council logo
Arts Council England Logo
Research England logo
The Technology Partnership logo
Brewin Dolphin Logo