In a tale by the Roman poet Apuleius, Psyche was beautiful enough to anger Venus. Cupid was sent to enact a cruel revenge, but instead fell in love with Psyche, who is depicted here about to bathe before a nightly visit from her celestial lover. Leighton’s picture was originally painted as a panel to decorate the house of the artist Lawrence Alma-Tadema, which accounts for its unusually long, narrow shape.
The Bath of Psyche
Date of work
Lord Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton, (1830 – 1896), was an English painter and sculptor of historical, biblical, and classical subject matter. Having first been knighted at Windsor in 1878, Leighton was the first painter to be given a peerage, and he was made Baron Leighton of Stretton in the County of Shropshire. Unfortunately, Leighton received this peerage on the 24th of January 1896, and died the very next day, making him the bearer of the shortest peerage in history. His painting and sculpture were regarded as having heralded a new renaissance in contemporary British art, and his works were sent to represent Britain at the 1900 Paris Exhibition.