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John Gibson RA, Psyche carrying a cake to Cerberus

Psyche carrying a cake to Cerberus, 1843

John Gibson RA (1790 - 1866)

RA Collection: Art

A drawing of 'Psyche bringing cake to Cerberus' depicting Psyche on the left, wearing long robes and a cloak, holding the crescent shaped cake above the three-headed dog Cerberus depicted on the right. This scene portrays Psyche's journey to Hades through which she managed to pass unharmed by pacifying the dog with honey-cake. The drawing is in pen and ink outline over pencil

According to John Gibson's biographer, T. Matthews, the artist 'returned to Rome in the autumn [1863]...His new subject was a variation of the story of Psyche, who arrives before the palace of Pluto. She sees the dog Cerebus, is startled and stares with wide open eyes at the monster. She is agitated, her nostrils are dilated - there is a quivering of the lips; she keeps up her courage, and her hope of safety is in the cake which she is about to throw to the three-headed dog. Whilst Cerebus is eating the cake, Psyche passes on her journey into the Palace' (p. 234).

Object details

Title
Psyche carrying a cake to Cerberus
Artist/designer
John Gibson RA (1790 - 1866)
Date
1843
Object type
Drawing
Collection
Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
05/695
Acquisition
Bequeathed by John Gibson RA 1866
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