Asura, Dhev, and Jeffrey, Cupid and Psyche, 2013

Inspired by Joshua Reynolds, Cupid and Psyche, c.1789.

We chose Cupid and Psyche (1789) by Sir Joshua Reynolds because it raised the question: ‘What happens next?’ We were also interested in the way in which Sir Joshua’s sharp contrasts in lighting created a sense of tension in the scene. During our research, we were surprised to discover that the artist chose to paint the composition in a seventeenth-century Italian style rather than the contemporary eighteenth-century British style. The most inspiring aspect of our research was the fact that Sir Joshua decided to emphasise narrative, depicting the ‘decisive moment’ of the Cupid and Psyche myth – Psyche’s first glimpse of her husband, Cupid, by candle light. Our animation also focused on this ‘decisive moment,’ and we implemented the silhouette and light box techniques to create a mysterious mood in the scene. We also added joints to the characters to increase their range of movements.

Inspired by:

Joshua Reynolds, Cupid and Psyche, c.1789

Joshua Reynolds, Cupid and Psyche, c.1789

This late work by Sir Joshua Reynolds shows the mortal Psyche discovering the identity of her sleeping lover, the god Cupid. Reynolds uses the subject to explore nocturnal lighting effects. The light and shadows appear more dramatic after recent conservation work which removed many layers of discoloured varnish. This work was first shown at Somerset House, now home to The Courtauld Gallery, in 1789.