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.