The artist had recently been awarded the prestigous Prix de Rome and was about to set off to Italy on a scholarship that came within this prize. It is a route taken by many famous names from the past few centuries and has helped a series of French painters to take Italian influences into their own development. Aside from that, of course, many would have headed to the Louvre and seen many original artworks from the Italian Renaissance there too. We can understand more about the influence of Italy on Fragonard by comparing this painting with those that occurred after his return. For sometime this particular artwork was mis-attributed to Carle van Loo, which explains how it fell into obscurity for a number of years before that label was corrected.
The tale behind this painting is of romance, a theme used commonly by artist Fragonard. Some have suggested that this painting illustrates how he was starting to move away from the style of his tutor, Boucher. The latter actually produced sketches on this theme for a series of tapestries and it is quite possible that his pupil then made use of them as a basis for the artwork that we find here. During that period there would be a large amount of crossover between a master and the members of his studio, with some works being completed collaboratively and also plenty of exchanging of ideas on techniques for the benefit of each other.
Those wishing to see the original Psyche Showing her Sisters her Gifts from Cupid in person should head to the National Gallery in London, UK, where it can normally be found on display. It was actually wider previously, before both sides were cropped down to give it a slightly squarer format. We are not entirely sure why this was done, or who by. Those interested in art from more traditional periods, such as this, will also find plenty of other artworks to enjoy at the National Gallery, including Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian, Doge Leonardo Loredan by Giovanni Bellini, Equestrian Portrait of Charles I by Anthony van Dyck and Mr and Mrs Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough, to name just four.