Eros (Roman Cupid - Italian putto)
Child of Aphrodite
, and her assistant in promoting love matches among gods and mortals. He is shown as a winged youth, becoming a baby after the 4th century BC, and his weapon is the bow, or sometimes a whip. Otherwise he appears with ordinary youthful attributes - a hare, hoop. He is sometimes shown in art at mortal occasions such as marriages, and regularly with Aphrodite
. On his own he represents the power of sexual attraction. In later art the figure is often multiplied, and two erotes may be weighed against each other by a woman in a love ritual, shown (as here at middle image) on some classical vases (Erotostasia). He is often indistinguishable from Pothos
or Himeros who personify similar emotions (yearning desire).
Above left: Detail from an Athenian white-ground clay vase, about 490 BC. Cleveland, Museum of Art 66.114. © Museum of Art, Cleveland
Above middle: Detail from a South Italian red-figure clay vase, about 350 BC. London. British Museum F220 © British Museum
Above right: Bronze. New York Metropolitan Museum of Art 43.11.4. Rogers Fund. Photo. Museum 131094 B LS © Metropolitan Museum of Art