Eros, known as Cupid in Roman religion and mythology, was a popular subject for works of art of this size, owing to his association with love and affection. Statuary with surviving polychromy is rare from this period, due largely to the fragility of coloured slip or paint. Though the vast majority of Ancient Greek statues and statuettes would have been decorated in multiple colours, the fact that few survive with their original pigmentation has fuelled misconceptions which imagine Greek statues as plain and uncoloured. Thus, pieces such as this which retain much of their original polychromy, are of particular interest, as they reveal a glimpse of the true visual landscape of the Ancient Greek world.
To discover more about Eros’ iconography in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: Eros’ Iconography in Classical Times.