Psyche

  • Hiram Powers, Psyche, modeled 1848, plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson, 1968.155.86

Luce Center Label

According to Greek mythology, Psyche was a beautiful maiden who fell in love with Cupid. Cupid's mother, Aphrodite, was jealous of Psyche's beauty and tried to keep the lovers apart. Eventually, however, Aphrodite realized that Cupid and Psyche were destined to be together and so she made Psyche immortal. Psyche is also the Greek word for "soul" and "butterfly." In his sculpture, Hiram Powers portrays Psyche as a young woman with delicate facial features and a butterfly in her curling hair, a symbol of her transformation into womanhood.

Luce Object Quote
"A light . . . seems to shine from the interior of the marble, and beam forth from the features." Nathaniel Hawthorne on Psyche after visiting Powers's studio in 1858, quoted in The Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, vol. 10, Passages from the French and Italian Note-Books (Boston, 1909)
Title
Psyche
Artists
Date
modeled 1848
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
25 1/8 x 17 1/8 x 9 3/4 in. (63.8 x 43.6 x 24.7 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums
Classifications
Keywords
  • Study – sculpture model
  • Mythology – classical – Psyche
Object Number
1968.155.86
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI