The story is taken from Montesquieu’s Céphise et l’Amour published in 1725. Walking in woods sacred to Venus, Cephisa and her lover chance upon cupid lying asleep. We see the moment when Cephisa steals cupid’s bow and arrow and shoots her lover to win his heart. She is punished by the gods for her act: her heart, once so constant, is made fickle. The subject and setting are inseparable in Valenciennes’s landscapes. Details of the setting are built up from the direct observation of nature, as recorded in drawings which provided the artist with a repertoire to be modified in painting. The whole is artificial, the setting created to match the mood and significance of its subject.