Statue of Eros, depicted as an idealized youth

Hellenistic. Cast of the original from the Capitoline Museum, Rome. Roman copy of a Greek bronze, possibly by Lysippos, marble, ca. 340-330 BCE.


Eros unstringing a bow is probably a copy of the bronze Eros of Thespiai by the Greek sculptor Lysippos. (Some sources attribute the piece to the sculptor Skopas.)


Eros was the mischievous god of love, a minion and constant companion of the goddess Aphrodite. The poet Hesiod first represents him as a cosmic who emerged self-born at the beginning of time to spur procreation. The same poet later describes two love-gods, Eros and Himeros (Desire), accompanying Aphrodite at her birth from the sea-foam. Some classical authors interpreted this to mean that they were born of the goddess at her birth, or alongside her in the sea-foam. The scene was particular popular in art, where the pair flutter around the goddess seated in her floating conch-shell.

Eventually, Eros was multiplied by ancient poets and artists into a host of Erotes, or Cupids as they are commonly called in English. The one Eros, however, remained distinct in myth. It was he who lighted the flame of love in the hearts of the gods and men, armed either with a bow and arrows or a flaming torch. In ancient vase painting, Eros is depicted as either a handsome youth or a child. His attributes varied from the usual bow and arrows to the gifts of a lover, such as a hare, a sash, or a flower. Sculptors preferred the image of the bow-armed boy, whereas mosaic artists favored the figure of a winged putto, or plump baby.

Original Statue

Artist: Lysippos
Material: Bronze
Culture: GreekHellenistic
Century: 4th century BCE
Current Location: ItalyRome
Museum: Capitoline Museum

  • ancient greece
  • eros
  • greek
  • Greek mythology
  • hellenistic
  • Lysippos
  • sculpture