An early dated 1886 allegorical oil on canvas by the New York illustrator, muralist, and fine artist Will Hicok Low, in deep sepia monochromatic tones with the young winged lovers Cupid & Psyche in amorous embrace. This was painted in Paris and is notated as such after the artist’s signature and date in the lower right corner. Will Hicok Low, born in Albany, New York, in 1853, was a leading muralist and figurative painter who explored both Barbizon landscape and a colorful Victorian style. He studied with academic painter Jean-Leon Gerome from 1872-1877, in Paris, France. He was the second husband of artist Mary MacMonnies Low, and a friend of writer Robert Louis Stevenson. He was a member of the National Academy of Design, New York City, elected an Associate in 1888, and an Academician in 1890. He exhibited at the National Academy for 60 years.
Cupid and Psyche is a story from the Latin novel Metamorphoses, also known as The Golden Ass, written in the 2nd century AD by Apuleius. It concerns the overcoming of obstacles to the love between Psyche (/ˈsaɪkiː/, Greek: Ψυχή, “Soul” or “Breath of Life”) and Cupid (Latin Cupido, “Desire”) or Amor (“Love”, Greek Eros), and their ultimate union in marriage. Although the only extended narrative from antiquity is that of Apuleius, Eros and Psyche appear in Greek art as early as the 4th century BC. The story’s Neoplatonic elements and allusions to mystery religions accommodate multiple interpretations,and it has been analyzed as an allegory and in light of folktale, Märchen or fairy tale, and myth.
Since the rediscovery of Apuleius’s novel in the Renaissance, the reception of Cupid and Psyche in the classical tradition has been extensive. The story has been retold in poetry, drama, and opera, and depicted widely in painting, sculpture, and even wallpaper