In popular culture Cupid is frequently shown shooting his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day.
Throughout ancient mythological writing, there appear to be either two Cupids or two sides to the figure of Cupid. One is the son of Jupiter (Zeus) and Venus. He is a lively youth who delights in pranks and spreading love. The other is a son of Nyx and Erebus, known for riotous debauchery.
In painting and sculpture, Cupid is often portrayed as a nude (or sometimes diapered) winged boy or baby armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows.
The Hindu Kāma also has a very similar description. On gems and other surviving pieces, he is usually shown amusing himself with childhood play, sometimes driving a hoop, throwing darts, catching a butterfly, or flirting with a nymph. He is often depicted with his mother (in graphic arts, this is nearly always Venus), playing a horn. He is also shown wearing a helmet and carrying a buckler, perhaps in reference to Virgil's Omnia vincit amor or as political satire on wars for love or love as war.
Cupid figures prominently in ariel poetry, lyrics and, of course, elegiac love and metamorphic poetry. In epic poetry, he is less often invoked, but he does appear in Virgil's Aeneid changed into the shape of Ascanius inspiring Dido's love. In later literature, Cupid is frequently invoked as fickle, playful, and perverse. He is often depicted as carrying two sets of arrows: one set gold-headed, which inspire love; and the other lead-headed, which inspire hatred.
The best-known story involving Cupid is the tale of Cupid and Psyche.
Cupid is a holiday character and symbol usually representing Valentines Day and the emotion of love. Cupid is based on the god of Roman mythology of the same name, but has undergone many changes. Cupid is the Roman version of the Greek deity Eros.
The most common representations of Cupid include a putto with a bow and arrow. Sometimes the arrow has a heart for its tip. Cupid is most often seen either nude or diapered. Cupid is sometimes blindfolded, symbolizing the figure of speech "love is blind."
Reinterpretation of the Cupid character may leave off any or all of the traditional details of the character, so long as the character's main purpose is to make or help people fall in love (or possibly become physically intimate).
Humorous interpretations may feature an obviously grown man but keeping the other traditional elements including the diaper.
It is said that if Cupid's arrow hits you, you will fall hopelessly and madly in love with the next person you meet of the opposite sex.