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Bronze statue of Eros sleeping

Period:
Hellenistic period
Date:
3rd–2nd century B.C.
Culture:
Greek
Medium:
Bronze
Dimensions:
length 33 9/16 in. (85.24 cm)
Classification:
Bronzes
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1943
Accession Number:
43.11.4
  • Description

    The Hellenistic period introduced the accurate characterization of age. Young children enjoyed great favor, whether in mythological form, as baby Herakles or Eros, or in genre scenes, playing with each other or with pets. This Eros, god of love, has been brought down to earth and disarmed, a conception considerably different from that of the powerful, often cruel, and capricious being so often addressed in Archaic poetry. One of the few bronze statues to have survived from antiquity, this figure of a plump baby in relaxed pose conveys a sense of the immediacy and naturalistic detail that the medium of bronze made possible. He is clearly based on firsthand observation. The support on which the god rests is a modern addition, but the work originally would have had a separate base, most likely of stone.

    This statue is the finest example of its kind. Judging from the large number of extant replicas, the type was popular in Hellenistic and, especially, Roman times. In the Roman period, Sleeping Eros statues decorated villa gardens and fountains. Their function in the Hellenistic period is less clear. They may have been used as dedications within a sanctuary of Aphrodite or possibly may have been erected in a public park or private, even royal, garden.

  • Provenance

    Said to have been found on Rhodes (Richter 1943-44, p. 122).

    [1930, purchased by Joseph Brummer from E. Geladakis, Paris]; acquired in 1943, purchased from Joseph Brummer, New York.

  • References

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1950. Small Sculptures in Bronze: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 20.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1950. The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, 3rd edn. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 68, 390, fig. 121.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, pp. 123, 262, pl. 102.

    Charbonneaux, Jean. 1962. Greek Bronzes. New York: Viking Press, p. 129, pl. XXV.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1970. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. New York: Dutton.

    Forsyth, William H. and The International Confederation of Dealers in Works of Art. 1974. "Acquisitions from the Brummer Gallery." The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Sixth International Exhibition presented by C.I.N.O.A.. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 2, fig. 1.

    Robertson, Martin and Cambridge University Press. 1975. A History of Greek Art, Vols. 1 and 2. Cambridge, England, p. 553, pls. 175c, 176a.

    Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneleise, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1981–1999. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vols. 1-8. Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen.

    1985. "Greek Bronzes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 43(2): no. 34, pp. 52-54, 63, 6.

    Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneleise, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1986. Atherion-Eros, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 3. Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen, Eros, no. 780a.

    Picón, Carlos A. 1992. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1991-1992." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 50(2): no. 240, pp. 206-7.

    Carratelli, Giovanni Pugliese and Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli. 1996. Enciclopedia dell'Arte Antica, Classica e Orientale: Atlante delle Forme Ceramiche, Suppl. 2, Vol. 4. Rome: Instituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, p. 776, fig. 1017.

    Burn, Lucilla. 2004. Hellenistic Art: From Alexander the Great to Augustus. London: British Museum Press, p. 148, fig. 85.

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 240, pp. 206-7, 451.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 73.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
254502:3

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