A History of Cupid for Crafters
By: Caley Walsh
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Want to impress your valentine with the real Greek and Roman mythology of the god of love, Cupid? Learn the true history of Cupid this Valentine's Day and remember the story of Cupid and Pysche as you learn how to draw a cupid, make cupid crafts or create cupid cards for your loved ones.
Photo by Mykl Roventine
Table of Contents
A History of Cupid: Greek or Roman God?
While many believe Cupid to be a Greek god, Cupid actually comes from Roman mythology. The Roman god Cupid, from the Latin “cupido” meaning “desire,” was the god of love. He was also known simply as Amor (“love”) and was a godly representation to the Romans of “falling in love.” As a Greek god, Cupid was actually known as Eros, the god of lust and love. In Greek mythology, Eros was more the patron of male love and especially sexual desire, while his mother, Aphrodite ruled romantic love between men and women. This probably explains why the Roman god Cupid and not the Greek god is the more popular symbol of love for Valentine’s Day today.
Cupid is most often portrayed as a mischievous winged boy armed with bow and arrows ready to inspire love in unsuspecting couples. If cupid’s arrow pierces your heart, you are liable to fall madly in love, hence the popular Valentine’s Day symbol of a pierced heart. Cupid is often blindfolded because “love is blind.”
Where did Cupid come from?
In Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, goddess of love and beauty, and both mother and son were celebrated equally for their roles in love. The popular Roman myth of Cupid and Psyche is a testament to true love. Though cupid is often portrayed as a young boy, in this myth Cupid is a young man who takes Psyche as his mortal bride.
Cupid and Psyche, Sculpture by Antonio Canova, Photo by Aida
The story goes, Venus, jealous of Psyche’s great beauty, orders Cupid to punish the mortal. Upon seeing her, Cupid falls madly in love and marries her, but as a mortal, Psyche is forbidden from looking at Cupid. One day, her sisters persuade Psyche to look at Cupid, and as punishment Cupid leaves Venus alone without a home. Psyche wanders into a temple of Venus looking for her love Cupid. Wishing to destroy her rival in beauty, Venus orders Psyche to take a box into the underworld and collect some of the beauty from Prosperine, wife of Pluto, god of the underworld.
Psyche agrees to this difficult series of trials out of love for Cupid. During her dangerous trip through the realm of the dead, Psyche is warned not to open the box. Temptation overcomes Psyche and she opens the box to find deadly slumber. Cupid finds her lifeless on the ground, and overcome with regret, forgives her. The rest of the gods, Venus including, are so moved by her dedication to Cupid that they make her a goddess.
Tell your beloved this story on Valentine’s Day and you are sure to score a few brownie points.
Give Cupid to Your Valentine
To accompany the story of Cupid and Psyche or just to decorate this Valentine’s Day, incorporate Cupid into a handmade valentine. With plain stationary and simple drawing skills, you can draw a Cupid for a truly impressive valentine.
Video from Mike of the How to Draw Guide Tutorial on Drawing of Cupid
Perhaps you don’t have superb drawing skills? That’s no problem. You can draw a cupid easily with the help of a stencil or even a cupid cookie cutter. Use the stencil for the outline and add your own touches with colored pencils.
Perhaps you want to skip the drawing all together? The web is a fantastic resource to find free cupid graphics and cupid art clips, which can be printed right onto a Valentine’s Day card. To get these free cupid clips onto their own page for printing, right click the image, hit copy image location and copy that location into a new browser tab or window. For more intricate Cupid graphics, check out these free mythological cupid graphics, these whimsical cupid graphics and this blog entirely dedicated to free Valentine’s Day clip art and romantic graphics.
For quick valentines to send to family and friends, you can also look into an array of cupid stamps or even an awesome cupid paper punch. Here are some of my favorite cupid stamps:
Don’t forget to check out The Best Cards for Valentine's Day and Valentine Card Phrases for more handmade card ideas.
- Make a Cupid’s Candy Arrow with the kids.
- Be ready for Cupid’s arrow with these fun, heart Be My Love Boxers.
- In an ode to the mythical flying god of love Cupid, create this Winged Heart Frame.
- An elegant Valentine’s Day pennant and fabric card may just bring Cupid around. Store your cupid card in the beautiful envelope created in this project.
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