Love, Cupid | The Transformation of Eros




With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you will most likely see Cupid everywhere. His likeness is in lots of museums around the world, he was immortalized in countless paintings and sculptures over the centuries. Cupid represents love and lovers everywhere.




19th century Art Nouveau Jardiniere



He was not, however, the sweet, cherubic faced little baby male with wings we know today. Cupid, the archer who could, with an arrow of his choosing {golden arrows to arouse passion; lead arrows to bring forth aversion} was also known as Eros, the son of Venus, who was the goddess of love. He was a powerful god, the effects of his arrows of love were not appreciated in ancient Rome. The Roman Empire was not amused with citizens who were crazy in love, they admired self controlled people, so Cupid was not a welcome visitor.





Antique French Original Oil Painting




Putti, those sweet male babies, chubby and so lovable, often with wings, also originated in Roman art. Their name is derived from the Latin putus, which means “boy.” In the 15th century, the iconography of Cupid began to become indistinguishable from the putto. No longer a strong, male god, Cupid, a popular figure in the Middle Ages, slowly transformed into an adorable baby or toddler. Under Christian influence he often had a dual nature as “Heavenly and Earthly love”.




Antique French Fragonard Portrait Necklace




It was the romantic Victorians who truly transformed our vision of Cupid forever. Victorian paintings, sculptures and art were filled with pudgy, flying babies to represent love. Victorians popularized Valentines, thereby sealing the fate of Cupid forever. He has been transformed from a strong, handsome young man into a small, darling toddler carrying his bow and arrows inspiring romantic love, and he is the ultimate icon of Valentine’s Day.

antiquecorbelcherubAAntique French Carved Putto Corbel


Always drawn to the putto, or cherubs, I love them every day. For their charm, their often “humorous” depictions. Do you love cherubs or cupids for decorating at Valentines’ or do you have them in your collection and on display all year round?



bisquecherubs 19th century Parian Bisque Cherubs



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7 thoughts on “Love, Cupid | The Transformation of Eros”

  1. Hi, Lidy,
    Just darling and I have loved them forever, they have so much charm I have them all over my house all the time, thanks for the info as well AND SHARING ALL THE PHOTOS, have a HAPPY VALENTINES DAY~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    1. Jean, so happy to have fellow cherub lovers! I hope you have a very happy Valentine’s Day too!

  2. Love, Love, Love Cherubs!!!!! I have mine displayed thru out my house year round. I even have cherub lamps and chandelier. Cherubs are adorable!

    1. That sounds beautiful, another cherub lover, I agree, cherubs are adorable!

    1. Thank you Carol. Those cute chubby guys are pretty darling. They always make me smile, especially the antique ones.

  3. Wrenda

    I just love all these chubby cherubs! The two carved putti corbels resemble (in my mind) two little chubby guys sunbathing. And the 19th c. Parian Bisque putti basket is divine. I own just a very few putti, which I display pretty much year-round. Thanks for the information about these charming little fellows.

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