The Hellenistic period introduced the accurate characterization of age. 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 in relaxed pose conveys a sense of the immediacy and naturalistic detail that the medium of bronze made possible. He is clearly based on firsthand observation. The support on which the god rests is a modern addition, but the work originally would have had a separate base, most likely of stone.
This statue is the finest example of its kind. Judging from the large number of extant replicas, the type was popular in Hellenistic and, especially, Roman times. In the Roman period, Sleeping Eros statues decorated villa gardens and fountains. Their function in the Hellenistic period is less clear. They may have been used as dedications within a sanctuary of Aphrodite or possibly may have been erected in a public park or private, even royal, garden.
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.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1943. "A Bronze Eros." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2(3): pp. 118–25.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1943. "A Bronze Eros." American Journal of Archaeology, 47(4): pp. 365–78, figs. 1–7, 13.
von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1949. "The Classical Contribution to Western Civilization." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 7(8): p. 208.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1950. Small Sculptures in Bronze: A Picture Book. p. 20, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1950. The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, 3rd edn. pp. 68, 390, fig. 121, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 123, 262, pl. 102, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Charbonneaux, Jean. 1962. Greek Bronzes. p. 129, pl. XXV, New York: Viking Press.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1970. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. pp. 161, 163, 165, fig. 5.9, a-c, pl. 4, New York: Dutton.
Forsyth, William Holmes and The International Confederation of Dealers in Works of Art. 1974. "Acquisitions from the Brummer Gallery." The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Sixth International Exhibition presented by C.I.N.O.A.. p. 2, fig. 1, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Robertson, Martin and Cambridge University Press. 1975. A History of Greek Art, Vols. 1 and 2. p. 553, pls. 175c, 176a, Cambridge, England.
Mertens, Joan R. 1985. "Greek Bronzes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 43(2): no. 34, pp. 52–54, 63, 6.
Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneliese, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1986. Atherion-Eros, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 3. Eros, no. 780a, Zürich: Artemis Verlag.
Söldner, Magdalene. 1986. "Untersuchungen zu liegenden Eroten in der hellenistischen und römischen Kunst." Ph.D. Diss. p. 605 n. 53. Universität Bonn.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987. Greece and Rome. no. 53, pp. 10, 72-3, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Carratelli, Giovanni Pugliese and Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli. 1996. Enciclopedia dell'Arte Antica, Classica e Orientale: Atlante delle Forme Ceramiche, Suppl. 2, Vol. 4. p. 776, fig. 1017, Rome: Instituto della Enciclopedia Italiana.
Mattusch, Carol. 1996. Classical Bronzes: The Art and Craft of Greek and Roman Statuary. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Zimmer, Gerhard and Nele Hackländer. 1997. Der Betende Knabe: Original und Experiment. p. 52, pl. 21.2, Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang.
Mattusch, Carol. 1998. "Rhodian Sculpture: A School, a Style, or Many Workshops?." Regional Schools in Hellenistic Sculpture: Proceedings of an International Conference Held at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, March 15-17, 1996, Dr. Olga Palagia and William Coulson, eds. p. 154, fig. 10, Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Hemingway, Seán. 2000. "A Technical Analysis of the Bronze Horse and Jockey Group from Artemision." From the Parts to the Whole: Acta of the 13th International Bronze Congress held at Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 28 - June 1, 1996, Carol Mattusch, Amy Brauer, and Sandra E. Knudsen, eds. p. 231 n. 13, Portsmith, R.I.: Journal of Roman Archaeology.
Beaumont, Lesley A. 2003. "The Changing Face of Childhood." Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past, Jenifer Neils, John H. Oakley, and Katherine Hart, eds. p. 80-1, fig. 20, New Haven: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College.
Kunze, Christian. 2003. "Die Konstruktion einer realen Begegnung: zur Statue des Barberinischen Fauns in München." Neue Forschungen zur hellenistischen Plastik. Kolloquium zum 70. Geburtstag von Georg Daltrop. pp. 39-47, figs. 13-6, Eichstätt-Ingolstadt: Katholische Universität.
Hemingway, Seán Dr. 2004. The Horse and Jockey from Artemision: A Bronze Equestrian Monument of the Hellenistic Period. pp. 7-9, fig. 5, Berkeley: University of California Press.
Burn, Lucilla. 2004. Hellenistic Art: From Alexander the Great to Augustus. p. 148, fig. 85, London: British Museum Press.
Kader, Ingeborg. 2006. "Und es Iösten die Glieder...Hypnos, Thanatos, Eros." Süsser Schlummer: der Schlaf in der Kunst, Erika Oehring, ed. pp. 18-9, figs. 4-5, Münich: Deutscher Kunstverlag.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 240, pp. 206-7, 451, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Bol, Peter C. 2007. Die Geschichte der antiken Bildhauerkunst III: Hellenistische Plastik. pp. 121, 149, 156-159, 161, 164, 166, 180, fig. 56, pl. 161, Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.
Hemingway, Seán. 2007. "From Gods to Grotesques. Hellenistic Bronze Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Apollo, 166 (May): pp. 50-6, fig. 1.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. p. 73, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Carter, Martha L. 2015. Arts of the Hellenized East: Precious Metalwork and Gems of the Pre-Islamic Era. p. 176, fig. 2.19, London.
Daehner, Jens M. and Dr. Kenneth Lapatin. 2015. Potere e Pathos: Bronzi del Mondo Ellenistico cat. 20, pp. 228-9, Firenze: Giunti.
Daehner, Jens M. and Dr. Kenneth Lapatin. 2015. Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World cat. 20, pp. 55, 228-9, Titlepage, Los Angeles, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum.
Picón, Carlos A. and Seán Hemingway. 2016. Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World no. 218, pp. 274-75, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.