Fine Roman Putto Head Applique


A finely-moulded hollow-backed Roman bronze appliqué depicting a cherub: this is possibly Cupid, the god of love. The facial features of the putto are detailed, with carefully rendered eyes, nose, and lips. The hair is heavily stylised into sections of waves/ringlet curls. The piece displays good metalwork, with attractive patination and attention to detail.

Date: Circa 1st - 2nd century AD
Condition: Very fine condition with beautiful green patina on the surface.


SKU: AS-1396 Category: Tags: ,

This reflects the traditional style for the depiction of cherubs, with ringlets of youthful hair and a round face. In Roman mythology, Cupid (known as Eros to the Greeks) was the god of love. He is generally represented as an aesthetically chubby boy with wings, who carries a bow and a quiver of arrows. He is normally shown as an assistant or acolyte of the goddess Aphordite (goddess of beauty and love). Eros was a god who was capable of making individuals (divine or mortal) fall in love by way of his enchanted arrows. One popular example is the story of the parents of Adonis. There was a king called Cinyras who had a beautiful daughter, Myrrah. The king would boast that her beauty surpassed that of even Aphrodite. As punishment the goddess used Eros to make Myrrah fall for her father, and decieved the king into committing incest via disguising his daughter. Myrrah discovered she was pregnant and prayed that the gods would save her, and they turned her into a Myrrh tree. Nine months later the tree split and a baby (Adonis) was born. This lead to another popular myth in which Aphrodite was shocked at the beauty of the baby and asked Persephone (Queen of the Underworld) to hide him and keep him safe. As the boy grew older, Persephone fell in love with him too, thus leading to the two goddesses arguing over the young man. Zeus rulled that Adonis should spend 4 months of the year with Aphodite, 4 with Persephone, and the remaining 4 he could spend where he liked. Adonis so loved Aphrodite that he gave his ‘free’ 4 months to her aswell. Unfortunately their love was not to be as Adonis was attacked by a boar while hunting and died in Aphrodite’s arms. In some versions of the myth, the boar was actually Mars (Aphrodite’s husband) in disguise. This tale reflects the power of Eros, love, and beauty in the ancient world.



Weight 27 g
Dimensions H 5 cm



Roman Mythology