This thesis chronicles the god of love, Eros, and the shifts of function and imagery associated with him. Between the French Revolution and the fall of Napoleon, Eros’s portrayals shift from the Rococo’s mischievous infant revealer of love to a beautiful adolescent in love, more specifically, in love with Psyche. In the 1790s, with Neoclassicism in full force, the literature of antiquity was widely read by the upper class. Ancient Greek texts reveal an important facet of the god of desire; the fact that he is an agent, if not the patron, for homosexual, homoerotic love. This aspect of Eros directly collided with the heteronormative principles that existed in Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary France, leaving French Neoclassicists with the challenge to reconcile the ancient role of Eros with the moralizing, rational ideals of society. Thus, the popularization of Eros and Psyche in French Neoclassical art exemplifies this attempt to create a heteronormative ideal couple to epitomize patriarchal France. Throughout my thesis I pose the question: How do depictions of Eros and Psyche produced in the years surrounding the French Revolution reflect the antique tastes of Neoclassical artists and the heteronormative society within which these pieces were produced?
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
School of Visual Arts and Design
Orlando (Main) Campus
Length of Campus-only Access
Laffick, Jennifer N., "Metamorphosis of Love: Eros as Agent in Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary France" (2017). Honors in the Major Theses. 195.