In this Hellenistic statue of Eros, were are confronted with an image of the great Greek god of love - represented as a sleeping child. Indeed, the bronze image charmingly captures the innocent slumber of an exhausted child, complete with details such as pudgy limbs and tousled hair. The only thing that distinguishes this statue from being a startlingly lifelike depiction of a baby, in fact, is the addition of tiny wings. One can easily imagine that the artist who created this statue delighted in their ability to "humanize" the irresistible god of love and desire.
While the ancient Greeks regarded Eros as one of the most powerful deities in their pantheon, it is interesting that the god underwent a transformation in art over the centuries. During the Archaic and Classical periods, Eros was commonly represented as an idealized, handsome youth. However, as artists during the Hellenistic era began to experiment with different, less idealized images, depictions of both old and young people were introduced into art. One result was that Eros was portrayed increasingly during this period as a child, in both art and mythology.
Learn more about the god Eros at Mythography.
Art in the Hellenistic Age
Professor J.J. Pollitt brings the drama and dynamism of the Hellenistic period vividly to life in this excellent book. With chapters covering such diverse topics as "Hellenistic baroque" and "Rococo, realism, and the exotic", the reader is introduced to the many changes that took place during this era of artistic innovation.
This beautifully illustrated book (from the Phaidon Art and Ideas series and written by Nigel Spivey) covers the subject of ancient Greek art brilliantly.