The Rapturous Union of Heart and Mind

Reaching Within: What traditional art offers the heart

A detail from “The Rapture of Psyche,” 1895, by William Adolphe Bouguereau. Oil on Canvas. 82 ¼ inches by 47 inches. Private Collection. (Courtesy of Art Renewal Center)

What does it mean to authentically love? The term “love” is often thrown at any object that provides us the slightest pleasure. We love our spouse, our children, our favorite movie and song, and even the latest chicken sandwich. We certainly don’t mean the same thing in all cases. Maybe French painter William Bouguereau can offer us insight into what it means to love, with his painting “The Rapture of Psyche.”

Let’s first take a look at the myth of Cupid and Psyche, thought to be initially recorded by the Hellenistic philosopher Apuleius, who lived in North Africa.

Psyche’s Beauty and Venus’s Jealousy