Exhibitions/ Art Object

Terracotta caricature of Eros as an old man

2nd–1st century B.C.
Greek, Asia Minor, Smyrna
H. 2 9/16 in. (6.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 164
This caricature takes the conceit of depicting Eros as a sleeping baby and turns it on its head. Here, Eros is represented as ravaged by time, with nothing of the purity of love and innocence evident in the Metropolitan's bronze statue of him sleeping. Rather, it seems to be a comical commentary on love grown old—a curmudgeon with a huge phallus (now missing).
Coombs, Margaret E. 1922. "Classical Accessions: VI. Greek Terracottas." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 17(5): p. 114.

Bieber, Margarete. 1961. The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age. pp. 113-4, New York: Columbia University Press.

Beazley, John D. 1986[1951]. The Development of Attic Black Figure, Sather Classical Lectures, Vol. 24, 2nd edn. p. 41, pl. 14, University of California: University of California Press.

Hemingway, Seán A. 2005. "Caricature and the Grotesque in Hellenistic Sculpture." Sculpture Review, 54(2): pp. 36, 38.

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