WW102-586 Part One.qxp_Layout 1 07/06/2019 12:52 Page 132
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346. A carved marble figure of Eros sleeping, lying on the infant Hercules's lion's pelt spread over a rock, resting his head on his left arm, his right lying across his body and with his legs crossed, his hair with a central plait, the underside slightly hollowed, possibly Roman 1st-2nd century AD or later, 19.6cm high, 60.5cm wide, 29.5cm deep. ÂŁ3,000-5,000 Provenance: An English private collection, acquired by the vendor's parents probably from a Country House sale in the 1940/50s. This unpublished and hitherto anonymous statue of Cupid sleeping belongs to a class of sculptures that was favoured in ancient Roman sculpture, was revived in Renaissance Italy, and was later popularised in Baroque Rome by Algardi and particularly Francois Duquesnoy, with many variations on exact pose and subject. Therefore the present statue could potentially have originated in any of these epochs and there are only its appearance (veiled by weathering from exposure out of doors-for perhaps a couple of centuries at least) and circumstantial evidence to narrow the choice. It depicts the winged child god of love sleeping on a lion's skin which is an attribute of Hercules. There is one tale that tells of Cupid stealing his club, quiver and lion's skin suggesting that even the most powerful are vulnerable to the subtle cunning ways of love. The image of sleeping Cupid was used by the Romans in a variety of ways: as a fountain or garden ornament, a dedication to the gods or as possibly in this case as a funerary monument where the statue was used as a child's grave cover. For a closely related example see National Museums, Liverpool, World Museum, Ince Blundell Roman Sculpture Collection, 59.148.74.
Furniture, Works of Art & Clocks | Wednesday 3rd July 2019