A pupil of the troubadour painter Pierre Révoil, Genod combines in the present work the precision of his master with the sensuousness of Anne-Louis Girodet Trioson, one of the first exponents of French Romanticism. Trioson's famous canvas, The Sleep of Endymion clearly inspired this painting: in addition to the overall sense of eroticism and general compositional similarities, the languid pose and drapery of Psyche clearly recall Girodet's androgynous Endymion, as do the stylized, neo-classical features used by Genod to define his figures.
Genod's painting is notable for its technique, combining a crystalline linearity and marmoreal smoothness with a striking use of chiaroscuro to model the figures. Details such as the butterfly, quiver, and Cupid's wings are exquisitely rendered, and the two figures have an immediacy which is almost unsettling.
In classical mythology, Venus set Psyché a number of tasks, the last of which was to bring her a small portion of Proserpines beauty from Hades in an unopened casket. Psyche, overcome by curiosity, opened it and released not beauty, but sleep, from which she is roused by Cupid.