The sculpture is considered a masterpiece of Neoclassical style but also has the mythological elements of emotional lovers, a clear sign of the emerging movement of Romanticism. The narrative follows that the winged male figure is that of god Eros or Cupid in Latin and is recognizable by his wings and the arrows in his quiver. The girl has been identified as Psyche. The plot has it that Cupid mother Venus, represented the goddess of beauty, commanded Psyche to bring back a flask, but strictly forbade her from opening it. Out of curiosity, Psyche opened it and inhaled poisonous fumes that put her into a heavy, comalike sleep.
When Cupid found her lying motionless, he touched her carefully with the tip of his arrow to see if she was still alive. This is the exact moment captured by the sculptor: He lifts his beloved Psyche in a tender embrace of love. She also lets herself sink slowly backward, languorously taking her lover's head between her hands. The sculpture was designed perfectly and it can be looked at from different angles. The sculpture has a powerful impression of aliveness and shows remarkable subtlety and how he perfectly worked on the marble surface. Also visible are deliberately toothed chisel marks left on the rock surface.
There are also a difference in texture between the folds of the fabric on the ground and the filmy muslin clinging to Psyches thighs. The skin has a very smooth texture which was achieved by using a finer filling technique as can be clearly seen from Cupid's face. The flask is on a separate location and its particular polishing is highly likely from turning and use of polish powder. It must have been lustered, and without doubt, waxed to give it the look of a valuable metal. Also, Cupid's wings were fixed in his back with such great accuracy. The wings are surprisingly thick and vivid, yet when backlit by the sun they become translucent, with a splendid golden hue.
His father Pietro Canova, a stone cutter, had some impact on Antonio Canova's ambition in the art world. However, it was his paternal grandfather, Pasino Canova, who was a stonemason, owner of a quarry, and was a sculptor specializing in late Baroque style who had a profound influence on Antonio Canova. He led Antonio into professional sculpting art. Canova's other work includes Perseus triumphant between 1804 to 1806, Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker between 1802 to 1806, Venus Victrix 1805 to 1808, and The Three Graces between 1814 and 1817.