Cupid carrying an amphora on the shoulder, after the antique.
Bronze with golden patina.
19th century.

Height 45 cm

This bronze sculpture represents Eros holding an amphora on his shoulder. He is moving forward while raising his right hand in salute. The god is recognizable by his braid starting from the occiput and ending in a small bun whose strands fall on the forehead.

The slight contraposto of his body as well as the movement of his arms and legs bring movement giving the impression that he is in motion.

The pronounced features of his face add sensuality to the god of love representation.

Our bronze is a lost wax cast founded in several parts that were subsequently welded together, and we note the presence of old vent holes that have been filled in. Great care has been taken in the treatment of the head, especially the hair and feet. It is the same size as the original.

The ancient model was discovered on January 28, 1751, during a campaign of exploration that lasted from 1750 to 1765 in the Villa dei Papiri (Villa of the Papyri) outside the site of Herculaneum. Ninety-three works of art were uncovered in this villa known for its exceptional decoration.

Initiated in 1738 by Charles de Bourbon, the excavation of Herculaneum yielded so many antiques that a museum was set up in 1750 in Portici, a city next to Naples, in an annex of the royal palace. The collection belonged to Charles of Bourbon but was organized thematically and travelers had to go through long procedures to gain access to the museum, which became known as the richest antique cabinet in Italy thanks to the reproductions made by the artists admitted to the palace as well as the engravings of the works that circulated among the European aristocrats.

This model, which originally stood in the garden of the Papyrus villa, has been little reproduced, unlike the most famous sculptures from the same villa, such as the seated Hermes, the young runner, busts of Scipio, Seneca, Dionysus and many other bronze masterpieces that the residence contained.

Jérôme de Lalande gave a complete description of the palace of Portici in 1769, and we also know that Charles-Nicolas Cochin had access to the collections since he commented several works of art from the same place. Many traveling artists certainly had access to these works as early as the 1750s.

The original is now on display at the Archaeological Museum of Naples, under inventory number 5023.

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