The Hellenistic period introduced the accurate characterization of age in works of art. Young children enjoyed great favor, whether in mythological form, as baby Herakles or Eros, or in genre scenes, playing with each other or with pets. This Eros, god of love, has been brought down to earth and disarmed, a conception considerably different from that of the powerful, often cruel, and capricious being so often addressed in Archaic poetry. One of the few bronze statues to have survived from antiquity, this figure of a plump baby conveys a sense of the immediacy and naturalistic detail that the medium of bronze made possible.
This statue is the finest example of its kind. Judging from numerous extant replicas, the type was popular in Hellenistic and Roman times. Its high quality and large scale are most appropriate to a religious sculpture, one that was likely dedicated at a sanctuary to Eros or his mother, Aphrodite. Differences in the metal alloy of the drapery between the legs as well as its technique of manufacture suggest that this part of the statue was restored at a later date, perhaps during the Early Imperial period.
Said to have been found on Rhodes (Richter 1943-44, p. 122).
[Until 1930, with E. Geladakis, Paris]; [1930, purchased by Joseph Brummer from E. Geladakis, Paris]; acquired in 1943, purchased from Joseph Brummer, New York.
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