In this bozzetto Rubens renders the Roman writer Apuleius' tale of Psyche Taken Up into Olympus. Enchanted by Psyche's beauty, mortals forgot to pay homage to Venus. Venus sent her son Cupid to exact revenge, but Psyche immediately fell in love with him. After many travails Cupid eventually weds her and persuades Jupiter to allow Psyche to live in Olympus. In the circular composition the assembly of the Olympian gods is rendered in foreshortened perspective from below. Mercury, the messenger of the gods, bears Psyche aloft to Jupiter's throne. There Cupid awaits them both with longing. From below Hymen, the genius of bridal couples, floats into the picture with a torch. Executed with great rapidity, extremely thinly painted with a palette of light colours and loose brushwork, this bozzetto is one of the best examples of the numerous Rubens sketches in the Princely Collections. The sketch was probably painted around 1621 in connection with the ceiling decoration of the Great Hall of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London, which was designed by Inigo Jones and built between 1616 and 1622. Prince Johann Adam Andreas I von Liechtenstein acquired this sketch before 1712.
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Peter Paul Rubens
Psyche taken up into Olympus, 1621
Oil on panel
height 63 cm, width 48 cm
Inv.-No. GE117
Provenance: presumably acquired by Prince Johann Adam Andreas I von Liechtenstein before 1712; identified for the first time as a fideicommissum by the seal of 1733
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Decius Mus relating his dream, 1616/1617
Decius Mus preparing for Death, 1616/1617
The Death of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Obsequies of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Dismissal of the Lictors, 1616/1617
The Interpretation of the Victim, 1616/1617
The Trophy, 1616/1617
The Assumption of the Virgin, c. 1637
Venus in Front of the Mirror, 1614/1615
Oil sketch of Mars and Rhea Silvia, c. 1616/1617
Mars und Rhea Silvia, c. 1616/1617
The Discovery of the Infant Erichthonius, c. 1616
Satyr and Maid with Fruit Basket, 1615
The Lamentation, c. 1612
Christ Triumphant over Sin and Death, 1615/1622
Double Portrait of Albert and Nikolaus Rubens, c. 1626/1627
Portrait of Jan Vermoelen, 1616
Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, c. 1616
Henry IV seizes the Opportunity to conclude Piece, 1628
The Victory of Henry IV at Coutras, 1628
The Consecration of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Obsequies of Decius Mus
Three Music-Making Angels, on the reverse side of St Joachim, 1615/1620
St. Catherine in the Clouds, 1620/1621
Four Music-Making Angels, on the reverse side of St Anne, 1615/1620
Apollo in the Chariot of the Sun, 1621/1625
The Conversion of St. Paul, 1601/1602
Perseus and Andromeda
The Virgin adorned with flowers, 1609/1610
Landscape with Milkmaids and Cows, 1616
Allegory of war, 1628
The Hunt of Meleager and Atalanta, 1628 (?)
The Assumption of the Virgin, modello, 1637
Ganymede, 1611/1612
Diana´s Hunt, 1628
St. Francis of Assisi before the Crucified Christ, 1625
Portrait of a Monk (?)
Adoration of the Magi, 1609/1610
The Visitation, 1611/1612
Portrait of Nicolaas Rockox, 1615
Samson and Delilah, c. 1610
Related themes
Rubens in Wien
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