‘The one who is eaten by butterflies’; or, since ‘psyché’ in ancient greek mean primarily ‘soul, spirit’, ‘the one who is eaten by his own soul’…
One morning of 1846 Jules Champfleury walked along the Seine fantasizing about his libretto Harlequin eaten by the butterflies when, rummaging through second-hand books in a bookstall, a brochure entitled "On the Nature of Human hyperphysical Wallon, Paris 1846 " fell in his hands. He opened it and read:
"SPIRITUAL man will definitively get rid of the death, he will kill, crush the death to achieve his higher destinies; he will then be released from the material and contingent conditions hindering his progresses. The psychological or physical faculties, the only so far known and studied, will become hyperphysical faculties, and the spirit will rejoice in all its creative spontaneity. "
The harlequin eaten by the butterfly was abandoned and Champfleury wrote in eight days another pantomime Pierrot, servant of the Death.
After a long time, reading an illuminating essay on the figure of Pierrot, I was in turn struck by that abandoned title and had a vision which then became a painting, Psychophagòmenos.