Statuette of Aphrodite and Eros on a Base

Object Details


Statuette of Aphrodite and Eros on a Base






Probably Egypt (Place created)


2nd - 1st century B.C.




28.7 × 12.7 × 8.3 cm (11 5/16 × 5 × 3 1/4 in.)

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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.

Small Sculptures in Bronze from the Classical World (March 07, 1976 to April 18, 1976)
  • Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), March 7 to April 18, 1976
Classical Connections: The Enduring Influence of Greek and Roman Art (December 16, 2003 to November 9, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 2003 to November 9, 2008
Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit: The Society of Dilettanti (August 7, 2008 to October 27, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), August 7 to October 27, 2008
Collector's Choice: J. Paul Getty and His Antiquities (November 18, 2009 to February 8, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), November 18, 2009 to February 8, 2010
Aphrodite and the Gods of Love (March 28, 2012 to May 26, 2013)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, October 26, 2011 to February 20, 2012
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), March 28 to July 9, 2012

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Getty, J. Paul. The Joys of Collecting (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1965) p. 78, ill.

Stothart, Herbert. Handbook of the Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu(?): 1965 p. 14, pl. 4.

Parlasca, Klaus. Mumienportraets und verwandte Denkmaeler. Wiesbaden: 1966. pp. 211-12; pl. 21.

Sams, G. Kenneth, ed. Small Sculptures in Bronze from the Classical World. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, exh. cat., March 7-April 18, 1976. no. 29.

Stemmer, Klaus, ed. In den Garten der Aphrodite. Exh. cat. Abguss-Sammlung Antiker Plastik, Berlin, Germany, 15 July-11 November, 2001. pp. 129-30, n. 65, fig. 5.

Mattusch, Carol C. Enduring Bronze: Ancient Art, Modern Views (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2014) pp. 47-48, fig. 24.