Psyche's Entrance into Cupid's Palace [right fragment], from the Story of Psyche

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After a cartoon by François Boucher (1703–1770), 1737–39
Woven at the Manufacture Royale de Beauvais under the direction of André Charlemagne Charron (director 1754–80)
France, Beauvais

Psyche's Entrance into Cupid's Palace [right fragment], from the Story of Psyche, 1756/63

Wool and silk, slit and double interlocking tapestry weave
170.2 x 357 cm (67 x 140 3/4 in.)
Gift of Mrs. Chauncey McCormick and Mrs. Richard Ely Danielson, 1943.1237

Once the left and right parts of a larger hanging from a Story of Psyche series, these two tapestries portray the musicians and serving maids who welcomed the mortal Psyche, a beautiful young virgin, upon her chance arrival at the palace of the god Cupid. According to the version of the ancient Roman fable recorded in Lucius Apuleius’s second-century book The Golden Ass, Cupid and Psyche fell in love. The god visited her only at night so she would not learn his divine identity. One night Psyche was unable to restrain her curiosity and glimpsed Cupid’s face. She was banished for her disobedience but eventually recovered Cupid’s trust and love. Psyche’s story—with its characteristically human themes of loneliness, loss, despair, hope, and love—was already a popular subject when the cartoons for this series were commissioned on behalf of Louis XV (r. 1715–74) from the royal tapestry manufactory at Beauvais.

— Exhibition label, The Divine Art: Four Centuries of European Tapestries, November 1, 2008–January 4, 2009, Regenstein Hall.