What Is the History of Cupid's Image?


Quick Answer

Roman mythology describes Cupid as handsome and debonair, the son of a god and goddess. However, during the Renaissance era, painters used winged cherubs and chubby, baby angels to represent Cupid as the embodiment of the innocence of new love. When art changed in the Victorian era, artists armed the cherubs with bows and arrows, paying tribute to the original Roman mythology. In modern times, people recognize the chubby cherub as Cupid.

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Full Answer

Before the Romans picked up Cupid as their representation of love and romance, the Ancient Greeks knew him as Eros. He was the god of love, depicted as an Adonis wielding a bow and a quiver of golden arrows to play matchmaker with deserving people in Greece and Rome. His lineage is traceable back to 700 B.C.

Aside from love, desire and passion, Cupid is thought to carry leaden arrows to instill heartbreak and aversion between undeserving couples. For fun, Cupid often played with the emotions of gods and mortals. For example, mythology holds that Cupid shot his arrow at Apollo, causing him to fall in love with a nymph, but shot the nymph with a leaden arrow, causing her to dislike Apollo. In the most well-known Greek myth, Eros scratched himself with one of his golden arrows, which caused him to fall hopelessly in love with Psyche.

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