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Psyche, How it Works


Psyche Gathering the Golden Wool print

The composition seems to have originated in the circle of Raphael, who in 1516 began painting the story of Psyche in a loggia of the Villa Farnesina in Rome. The patron was Agostino Chigi, an extremely wealthy Sienese banker (arguably the richest man in Europe at this time).  The scene celebrates Psyche’s good fortune in having “the river weed” take pity on her and help her solve the puzzle of obtaining the wool from the dangerous golden sheep.

The goddess Venus is slightly larger in scale than Psyche to subtly show her authority and divine status. The narrative proceeds from right to left as the story unfolds. Like many Renaissance narratives, the image is meant to be read in consecutive frames like a book.

Question: What other museums have Cupid and Psyche prints by the Master of the Die?
Answer: The Art Institute of Chicago