Copy of a Greek statue of the 4th century B.C. attributed to Lysippos
Eros was shown in a momentary gesture, stringing his bow. The iconography of Eros as an archer became popular in the fourth century B.C. It captures the god's double nature—desire can bring happiness or it can destroy by unsettling wisdom—well-known traits of Eros in Classical Greek literature. Statues of Eros were made by major Classical sculptors, including Phidias, Alcamenes, Praxiteles, Skopas, and Lysippos. This fragment is a copy of the bronze Eros by Lysippos, dedicated to the god at his sanctuary at Thespiae in Boeotia. Known from more than forty copies in marble, this statue by the court sculptor of Alexander the Great and the most important innovator in bronze sculpture of the fourth century B.C. would have been a significant precedent known to the sculptor of the Metropolitan's Sleeping Eros.
Döhl, Harmut. 1968. "Der Eros der Lysipp: Frühhellenistische Eroten." Ph.D. Diss. no. 44
, p. 56. Göttingen.
Christie, Manson & Woods. 1978. Important Antiquities. November 21, 1978. lot 248, p. 54, pl. 49.
Blass, Bill. 2002. Bare Blass, Cathy Horyn, ed. p. 136, New York: HarperCollins.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2004. "One Hundred Thirty-fourth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 134: p. 19.