Scenes depicting putti or cupids wearing or holding theatre masks, were a popular subject in Ancient Roman art of this period, usually carved on sarcophagi and friezes in bass-reliefs. This type of representation usually had a comic and playful meaning. Masks were very important to the pantomime genre. The masks in the plays were often based on the characters they were representing but in caricature form and as a very exaggerated version. Comedic masks were known for their giant smiles. Masked male actors used to play female roles.
To discover more about Eros’ iconography in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: Eros’ Iconography in Classical Times.