Statuette of Eros and Swan


About this object

Statuette group of boy (Eros) and swan restored in the 17th century from an originally single male figure. The restoration may have been inspired from Boethus' Boy Struggling with a Goose, a Hellenistic work mentioned by Pliny. Instead of the goose this group has a swan and the boy is not wrestling with it, although he does have a ribbon around the neck of the swan. If the restorer used the swan to refer to Venus he did not proceed to add wings to the boy so that he is Eros. The head of the boy most probably belonged to the body. The arms are also a restoration but they follow the original posture as it is suggested by the position of the shoulders. The body of the boy has movement and he may be playing with a ball or a hoop. The boy looks like a toddler and has a protruding belly and thick thighs. He has long side ringlets and a centre braid. Children in similar postures were a common theme in Roman villas of the Imperial Age and often used around fountains.
The lower part of the group is heavily restored from a single piece of marble. The hair is also different between the left and right side suggesting that there was some reworking.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    760 mm x 550 mm
  • Note
    Curator's note: fragment of mouth of Eros stored with statue (GM, September 2014). Similar statues inspired by the Boy Struggling with a Goose can be found in the Museo Capitolino. A similar statue of the boy playing is in Ny Carlsberrg Glyptotek I.N.2089. Similar active children are included in Hutchinson book about Children Sarcophagoi. The boy also compares well with the figure of Eros with the Bow 59.148.26. Blundell romantically connected the figure of the boy with Venus and love.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Francesco d'Este ( Previous owner); Ippolito d'Este ( Previous owner); Vincenzo Pacetti ( Previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

Explore related


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Previous owners

  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: By descent
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Bequest
  • Vincenzo Pacetti

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Francesco d'Este

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Ippolito d'Este

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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