Cupid with the Butterfly, 1805-1810
Carbonpencil hightened with white on ligth brown paper. 421 x 333 mm
Inventory number: Dep.7
This quite large “painting-like” drawing represents the god of love, Cupid, standing in a landscape with a butterfly on his left hand. This is one of several almost identical drawings that Thorvaldsen occasionally presented as gifts to those who were close to him. One person to receive such a drawing was a young woman – Fanny Caspars – with whom Thorvaldsen became infatuated in 1819. For thousands of years, the butterfly has been seen as an image of the soul and its immortality. And Cupid is represented as a figure that pursues – and sometimes torments – the soul in the very shape of a butterfly. Although this little work bears no date, it must be supposed that Thorvaldsen made drawings of this kind particularly during his early years in Rome at the start of the 19th century, even though he also used them as gifts during his later years.