In this intimate sculptural portrayal of a relationship between two divinities, Aphrodite playfully threatens her mischievous son, Eros. The goddess of love wears a stephane--a crown--over her cascading hair and holds a folded cestus--a girdle--just above her shoulder, ready to slap her son. Eros--his wings fully extended--playfully holds up his hand to protect himself.
This scene represents a divine counterpart to the everyday closeness between a mortal mother and her son. During the Hellenistic era, gods and goddesses were often portrayed in a more personal way. This method of representation was a dramatic departure from the earlier Classical style, when the gods were represented more formally as gods, rather than as lighthearted--and humanlike--creatures.