Originally apprenticed to a jeweller in his native Florence and then to a copperplate engraver in Vienna, Piò Fedi (d.1892) began his sculpture training at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence, under Lorenzo Bartolini. He continued his studies at the Academy in Vienna and in 1840 won a scholarship to study in Rome under the celebrated sculptor Pietrò Tenerani. A versatile sculptor, Fedi executed many religious works, public monuments, such as The Rape of Polissena (1862) for the Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, and neo-classical and genre works for private individuals.
In the present work, entitled Speranza Nutre Amore, Fedi has created a beautiful, mildly erotic composition, showing the adolescent Cupid tempted by the provocations of Psyche. Here, the advances of Cupid, with craving lips only a centimetre away from the maiden's breast and with one hand placed on her inner thigh, are restrained by Psyche as she pushes his hand away and pinches together the tips of his wings. In executing this work, Fedi demonstrates the ability of his carving, combining the sensuous lines of the bare flesh of both figures with the subtle folds of drapery falling from Psyche's waist, the feathers of Cupid's wings and the intricate plaits and curls of his hair.