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GT1501

A Hellenistic Terracotta Figure of Eros, 2nd - 1st century BC

With a slightly mischievous expression this nude Eros sits upon his integral socle, a large bunch of grapes clutched in his pudgy hands.  Moulded with skill, this piece sensitively renders the lightly chubby and soft physique that typically depicts one of the most famous and revered images from Classical Antiquity; Eros, god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection.  

The archetypal small boy of Greco-Roman art, Aphrodite’s most faithful companion can be identified with certainty just by the presence of his outspread wings.  He sits with his  left leg tucked under his right and the slight gravitation of his body adds a certain liveliness. Beautifully modeled, the contoured face is rounded, with almond-shaped eyes, dimpled cheeks, a broad nose and a small mouth with impish smile, all of which further animate this god of love. His hair, that covers the head and the ears like a helmet, is furrowed with wavy lines indicating locks and ending with large twisted curls. 

Eros with grapes was a common theme of Hellenistic and Roman terracottas in the Mediterranean and, as Robert Brown speculates (The Great Dionysiak Myth, Volume 1) may have functioned as a "representation of Kosmic love, the uniting principal of Empedokles, which includes personal and all other kinds of sympathy and affection, as wine and the grape are the types of all passion". 

Condition:  with traces of original white slip remaining, the terracotta is intact and in very good condition overall.

Dimensions: Height:  5 1/4 inches (13.3 cm)

Provenance: Ex. Harvey Sarner collection, Chicago, ex. prominent Palm Springs, CA. collection acquired at Christies, NYC, 1981.

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