John William Waterhouse
British, 1849 - 1917
Psyche Opening the Golden Box
Psyche represents the human spirit or soul, and in mythology she was represented as a princess so beautiful that people adored her instead of Venus. To put an end to this sacrilege, Venus sent her son Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest creature he could find. but when Cupid saw her he fell in love and forgot his mother's command. They became lovers, though Cupid forbade Psyche ever to look upon him. When at last she did, he fled in fear of what Venus would do to him in revenge. Psyche roamed the earth in search of her lover, facing obstacles thrown in her way by Venus to prove that she was worthy of her son. One of these tasks involved a golden box which she was forbidden from opening. When she did open it, she fell into a deep sleep of death. Eventually, however, Jupiter agreed that the lovers could be united for eternity. The couple's daughter was named Voluptas ("pleasure").
In Greek mythology, Venus is represented by Aphrodite , Cupid by Eros and Jupiter by Zeus.
Source: Classical Mythology: the Ancient Myths and Legends of Greece and Rome.
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