A ROMAN MARBLE FIGURE OF A SLEEPING EROS
A ROMAN MARBLE FIGURE OF A SLEEPING EROS

CIRCA 1ST CENTURY B.C.-1ST CENTURY A.D.

Details
A ROMAN MARBLE FIGURE OF A SLEEPING EROS
Circa 1st Century B.C.-1st Century A.D.
The god of love depicted reclining on his mantle which is spread over a rock, his legs hanging down, his torso turned to the left to accommodate his wings, resting his head on his left arm, his right arm positioned across his body, the palm upwards, his torch just out of reach, a floral garland near his left hand, a butterfly on the rock in shallow relief, his head with short curling locks and a central braid over the crown of his head
19½ in. (49.5 cm) long
Provenance
French Private Collection

Lot Essay

By the Hellenistic Period, Greek artists and their Roman successors depict the god of love as a young boy. "After dancing, floating through the air, enjoying banquets, and shooting his arrows at young men and women, the mischievous boy is tired and falls asleep." (Bieber, The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age, p. 145). For a fine example in bronze in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and another in marble in the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome, see figs. 616-618 and 620 in Bieber, op. cit.
During the Roman period, especially on gems, Eros/Cupid is shown chasing or torturing butterflies. The presence of the butterfly on the base of this example is unique for this sculptural type, and suggests that the god exhausted himself in pursuit of the insect.
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