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John William Waterhouse: Psyche Tile Backsplashes

Psyche Art Tile Murals based on John William Waterhouse

Psyche at the Garden Gate, Psyche Opening the Golden Box

Psyche Tile Murals

The Psyche murals are available as a set and separately, on 4.25 inch tiles. Each is 12.75 inches x 17 inches on twelve 4.25 inch tiles.

Side by side, 24 tiles, they are 25.5 inches by 17 inches.


Psyche Entering Cupid's Garden: $1325

Psyche Opening the Golden Box: $1325

Both murals: $2550

Why this Story is Important

The story of Cupid and Psyche, or Eros and Psyche, is originally from Metamorphoses, written in the 2nd century AD, although they appear in Greek art as early as the 4th century B.C. Many aspects of the story are psychologically evocative. For me, Psyche sorting through the impossible task for sorting the great mound of seeds after she's made a mess of things is particular poignant. In one version, while gathering flowers on Mount Olympus, Psyche noticed a small gate ajar, and she caught a glimpse of the beauty within. The inscription on the gate read: Eros, daughter of the Lover.

Impulsive and curious, Psyche looked for this unknown god and in the dim shade of the garden, she found him.

The Story

Psyche, the youngest of three daughters of a king and queen, is so beautiful that people say she is more beautiful than Venus (Aphrodite in the Greek), or the is the product of the goddess's tryst with a moral. This outrages the goddess so much that Venus sends her son Cupid (Eros) to curse her. Cupid scratches himself with his own arrow, which causes the wounded one to fall in love with the first things he sees. Thus, Cupid comes to fall in love with Psyche and does not follow his mother's instructions to cause Psyche to fall in love with a monster.

As time passes, both of Psyche's sisters marry, but Psyche has no suitors. After a time, her father consults the Oracle of Apollo, who tells him a dragon-like creature feared by gods and men will be his son-in-law. Psyche is dressed in funeral attire and taken to a rocky crag, where the west wind, Zephyr, bears her away. Upon awakenings, Psyche is led to a mansion of jewels and marble. She lives in the castle and at night, and in night's darkness is visited by an unseen being who makes her is wife, but forbids her to look upon him. She soon becomes pregnant.

Psyche's family believes her dead, but after a time, Psyche persuades Cupid to permit Zephyr to bring her sisters for a visit. The sisters, believing that their sister's husband is a monster who will devour her and the child, plant seeds of doubt, encouraging her to betray her word and uncover her husband's true identity. Psyche agrees to hide a dagger in her room and as her husband sleeps, lights a candle in order to see and kill the monster. Startled by his beauty, she lets a few drops of wax fall and he awakes. Betrayed, he flees. She tries to pursue him, but he flies away.

Psyche wanders and completes tasks assigned to her by Aphrodite for various the gods and goddesses, but the gods are prohibited from helping her against another goddess. Psyche goes directly to Aphrodite where she is set upon impossible tasks: sorting a great mound of seeds, fetching golden wool from violent sheep, and collecting water from the source of the Styx in a crystal vessel.

For her final task, Psyche is sent to the underworld with a golden box to obtain some of Proserpina's beauty. She is met at a tower and given instructions for navigating the underworld. Upon arriving in Hades, Proserpina grants Psyche's request, but Psyche, doubting her own beauty and ability to attract Eros, opens the box and is overcome with a death-like sleep. Eros escapes his mother's house to look for Psyche and finds her unconscious, returns the sleep to the box and carries Psyche and the box to his mother.

Eros appeals to Jupiter, who gives Psyche the ambrosia of immortality so the couple can be united as equals. In time, the child is born and named Voluptas (Pleasure).