To the early Greeks, Cupid presented the strongest and deepest forces in our nature, but by the Hellenestic period, Greek artists and their Roman successors depicted the god of love as a troublesome young boy with the attributes that we see in Benzoni's example: "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). In the present example, Benzoni (d.1873) chooses to showcase the Cupid's mischievous side. The boy is depicted hidden under a lambskin, his quiver and arrows at the ready. The result of his insidious behaviour is often represented in art as the The Punishment of Cupid (see lot 351) where Venus is forced to take away his weapons.
The present model, the full title of which is Amore insidioso sottola pelle di agnello, was commissioned by the contessa Elisabetta Camozzi Vertova of Bergamo. The model is referred to in an August 15th, 1845 letter from the artist to his benefactor. Apparently the contessa had inquired about the completion of the sculpture. In the letter, Benzoni informs the contessa that his workers are diligently executing the "Amorino", and he mentions the quality of the stone. The sculptor assures her that the execution will have the highest priority in respect to his other commissions; although he admits that he doesn't want to rush the work. Benzoni further requests an advance on payment in consideration of the great expenses he is facing. (Catalogo del carteggio di Giovanni Maria Benzoni, MMB 943 (no. 2 lettere) - "Autografi", sec. XIX, Civica Biblioteca, Bergamo)
Another example of this model is preserved at the Museum of Fine Arts of Montreal, Canada.