Image: Jean Joseph Taillasson, France (1745-1809), Psyche Abandoned by Cupid, 1795, oil painting, 45 5/8 in x 35 1/8 in., Purchase: Frank C. Ball Collection, gift of the Ball Brothers Foundation, by exchange, 2013.017.000, © Jean Joseph Taillasson

Written by Tori Smith, Public Relations and Social Media Intern

It’s no secret that engaging with an art museum can bring up a lot of emotions for the visitor. For some, it might be the intimidation of walking through the intricate wooden doors. For others, the comfort of their favorite gallery. These emotions are evoked not only by the museum itself, but by the artwork that lies against its walls and the sculptures that sit in its glass cases.  

Inspired by DOMA’s upcoming Anti-Valentine’s Day event, there are five noteworthy pieces of artwork in the museum that evoke heartbreak to visit before or during DOMA After Hours.  

  1. Psyche Abandoned by Cupid (1795) 

This 18th century oil painting is one the most obvious examples of heartbreak that can be found in the DOMA. Psyche stands tall in the corner of the Burkhardt Gallery, waiting to receive empathy from visitors. Her vulnerable demeanor brings the feeling of either pity or empathy to the viewer. Psyche’s face shows mental suffering, specifically the single tear on her right cheek. 

  1. Le Jazz Intellectuelle (1980) 

This small sculpture sits in the corner of the museum in the Contemporary Craft Gallery, and it doesn’t immediately evoke heartbreak at first glance. It seems quite joyful, as a sophisticated man plays jazz, presumably with a brass instrument, on top of a musical bust. With further investigation into the piece, it’s noted that his distorted head and covered eyes may allude to a battle with cancer.  

  1. L’Amour et Psyche (Landscape with Psyche Saved from Drowning Herself) (1665-1670) 

This 17th century oil painting once again features Psyche, the work displayed on the balcony. In this painting, Psyche is attempting to drown herself after betraying Cupid’s trust by trying to discover his true identity. Although she is being saved by a winged figure in the painting, a viewer can’t help but stop and feel empathy for the woman who is going to the extreme of drowning herself because she betrayed someone’s trust. 

  1. Still Life with Peaches and Grapes & Still Life with Watermelon and Grapes (1821) 

This pair of 19th– century oil paintings sit in the Ball Brothers Foundations Foundation Galleries and feature obviously rotting and decaying fruit created by Raphaelle Peale, who suffered from health and financial issues during most of his life. These two paintings were created during his least productive period, which is shown through a bruise in the peach and an insect crawling through the watermelon. Sadly, his paintings rarely sold for over $25.  

  1. Actaeon and Diana (1925) 

These two sculptures are a 20th century rendition of the conflict between Actaeon and Diana. These pieces sit on either side of the staircase in Sculpture Court. Acteon, the young male hunter, surprised Diana in her bath. She punished him by firing an arrow toward him, and eventually, his own dogs turned against him. Is it heartbreak between Diana and Actaeon or heartbreak between Actaeon and his dogs? 

Think another piece deserves to be on this list? Let us know in the comments below. 

As always, thank you for reading the DOMA insider and make sure to visit the museum soon! DOMA is free and open to the public; we are open Tuesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Check out our website at