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Cupid and Psyche

A work made of mezzotint in black on cream laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of mezzotint in black on cream laid paper.




James McArdell (Irish, c. 1728-1765)
after Gottfried Schalcken (Dutch, 1643-1706)

About this artwork

James McArdell was a talented Dublin School mezzotint engraver who also published his own prints. Here he capitalized on the Leiden painter Godfried Schalken’s fleeting fame. Schalken produced numerous nighttime scenes, and for this mythological mezzotint, the choice of illumination is particularly apt. Cupid fell in love with the mortal Psyche. Unable to keep her promise to meet with him solely in the dark, she lit an oil lamp, thereby learning her secret lover was divine. Overcome with his loveliness, she spilled the burning oil, waking him. Only after she succeeded in three seemingly impossible quests could they finally marry.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


James MacArdell


Cupid and Psyche


Ireland (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Mezzotint in black on cream laid paper


Image/plate: 41.6 × 31.5 cm (16 7/16 × 12 7/16 in.); Sheet: 42.7 × 32.7 cm (16 13/16 × 12 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

The Amanda S. Johnson and Marion J. Livingston Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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