Rome, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. An exceptional marble Cupid (Eros) figure, finely carved to depict the love god as a sensual male nude rather than the expected cherubic, portly form, presented in contrapposto with weight shifted to his left leg, his right leg advanced and slightly angled to the side, raising his left hip. Notice also how the figure's pelvis and thorax tilt in opposite directions, presenting a rhythmic sense of motion that suggests lifelike energy. Such calculated poses intended to conjure human vitality in sculpture were inspired by the works of Polykleitos and became the model to which sculptors aspired in Graeco-Roman as well as later Western European art. A well-modelled example, with skillfully delineated stomach and pectoral musculature and rounded buttocks - an elegant delineation of human physiognomy, despite the subject's divine, immortal existence as the legendary love god, poised to help couples fall in love through not-entirely-innocent interventions! Size: 19.75" H (50.2 cm); 26.125" H (66.4 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private Scottsdale, Arizona, USA collection; ex-Lord McAlpine collection
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A section from a larger work, though quite impressive on its own. Missing head and limbs. Losses to peripheries (at neckline, arms, and legs) and missing wings; note drilled holes on shoulders for previous attachment of wings. Hole through neck suggests head was carved separately as well. In antiquity, elements were oftentimes sculpted separately and fixed to the body with dowels. Surface wear with abraded area below right arm to chest, areas of earthen encrustation, and mineral deposits.