Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Limestone statue of Aphrodite holding winged Eros

late 4th century B.C.
H. 49 3/4 in. (126.4 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 176
From the eighth century B.C. the Greek poets associated the goddess Aphrodite with Cyprus, but on the island itself the local Great Goddess did not become assimilated with Aphrodite until the fourth century B.C., when the worship of many Greek divinities was introduced. In this work the goddess is clearly identified as Aphrodite by the small figure of her son Eros, winged god of love, who perches on her shoulder. The Cypriots did not adopt a conventional Greek way to represent Aphrodite but transferred their own iconography for the Great Goddess of the island to their images of Aphrodite. From the ninth to the sixth century B.C. images of the Cypriot Great Goddess were inspired by Eastern art, especially that of the Syro-Phoenician goddess Astarte, who appeared nude. From the fifth century the local goddess was shown with a high round headdress decorated with vegetal and floral motifs, as befits a fertility goddess. Here Aphrodite wears such a crown decorated with palmettes alternating with nude females—recalling the figures of Astarte. She has long locks falling over her shoulders, a motif taken from early Greek sculpture, and she wears a chiton with himation (cloak) drawn up over the back of the headdress.
#1110. Limestone statue of Aphrodite holding winged Eros
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Sanctuary of Golgoi–Ayios Photios

Cesnola, Luigi Palma di. 1885. A Descriptive Atlas of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriote Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Vol. 1. pl. CVII.695, Boston: James R. Osgood and Company.

Myres, John L. 1914. Handbook of the Cesnola Collection of Antiquities from Cyprus. no. 1405, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Vessberg, Olof and Alfred Wesholm. 1956. The Swedish Cyprus Expedition, Vol. 4, Pt. 3. p. 88, pl. IX.1, Stockholm: Håkan Ohlssons Boktryckeri.

Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). 1984. Vol. 2: Aphrodisias-Athena. "Aphrodite," p. 40, no. 264, pl. 7, Zürich: Artemis Verlag.

Karageorghis, Vassos, Joan Mertens, and Marice E. Rose. 2000. Ancient Art from Cyprus: The Cesnola Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. no. 341, p. 212, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Karageorghis, Jacqueline. 2005. Kypris: the Aphrodite of Cyprus: Ancient Sources and Archaeological Evidence. p. 166, fig. 167, Nicosia, Cyprus: Foundation Anasatasios G. Leventis.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 299, pp. 259, 465, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ulbrich, Anja. 2010. "Images of Cypriot Aphrodite in Her Sanctuaries During the Age of the City-Kingdoms." Brill's Companion to Aphrodite, Amy C. Smith and Sadie Pickup, eds. pp. 189, 191-92, fig. 9.9, Leiden: Brill.

Hermary, Antoine and Joan R. Mertens. 2013. The Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art : Stone Sculpture. no. 357, pp. 263–64, Online Publication, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Papantoniou, Giorgos. 2013. "Cypriot Autonomous Polities at the Crossroads of Empire: The Imprint of a Transformed Islandscape in the Classical and Hellenistic Periods." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 370: pp. 175-76, fig. 5.

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