ivory: 29,9 cm x 13,6 cm

The museum has a splendid collection of sculptures by Paul De Vigne. The Ghent born artist belonged to the realistic movement amongst Belgian sculptors, who sought their inspiration in Italian Renaissance sculpture and from the French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, who was highly influential in Belgium. In portraits and allegorical figures, De Vigne combined a degree of classicism with a surprising natural quality, as illustrated in Psyche, Greek for both soul and butterfly. The head is slightly askance, the neck outstretched and the skin depicted in great detail. The contrast between the girls youthfulness and her serious gaze lends this Psyche a particular intensity. The statue is made of ivory, a favourite material of sculptors at the end of the 19th century. \nThe Greek word psyche means both soul and butterfly. Hence the butterfly wings on her back. In antiquity, butterflies were associated with death, but in the Christian tradition with resurrection. In relation to the dragonfly on the plinth, a symbol for elegance and weightlessness, but also for sin, the sculpture might also be a reference to the battle between good and evil.