Amor med sommerfuglen CC0
Bertel Thorvaldsen
: Bertel (Albert, Alberto) Thorvaldsen
: 19.11.1770
: 24.03.1844
: dansk
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Cupid with the Butterfly, after 1805

Brown gouache and carbonpencil heightened with white. Inscription in pencil. 376 x 290 mm
Inventory number: C813

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For thousands of years the butterfly has been seen as an image of the soul and its immortality. In the Hellenistic period Cupid was portrayed as the one who pursues – and at times torments – the soul in the shape of a butterfly. In Greek the original meaning of psyche is life, later also spirit or soul; and it is also the name of a butterfly. Thorvaldsen used the motifs several times. He was for example familiar with it from his fine collection of antique gems.