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Sleeping Cupid

Cupid, the youngest of the gods, inspired Renaissance artists to develop a wide array of depictions, from the virile, young lover of Psyche to the mischievous child playing tricks on the hearts of gods and men. The popularity of the subject is evident in the works of Farinati, where almost half of the artist’s prints include the figure of Cupid, alone or with another deity. This angelic baby Cupid asleep with his emblematic bow and arrows nearby may actually carry a deeper, neo-Platonic meaning as an allegory of the conquest of rationality over a dormant state of passion, symbolized by Cupid.

Paolo Farinati
Italian, 1524–1606
Sleeping Cupid
ca. 1560–1606
Etching on paper
Image/sheet: 5 7/16 x 7 11/16 in. (13.8 x 19.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Collection of Diether Thimme, 98.250