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3912, Eros, Hellenistic Period; 3rd - 2nd century B.C.

Artist: Photographer: Ardon Bar Hama
Culture: Greek
Material: Terracotta
Dimensions: h. 4 in / 10 cm

Although this terracotta figurine of Eros, god of love and lust, is now worn, it was once brightly painted. His skin was covered in white slip and his wings were applied with gold leaf. His mantle, drawn up to expose his genitals, was painted blue, and his hair was red. The figure may be a later copy or a fake, but if genuine, it was most likely manufactured in Boeotia.

The figure wears a wreath and his hands are muffled in his chlamys which is drawn up to reveal his genitals.

Once the statues were painted. As Lucilla Burn notes 'the clay of this figurine is red; it was originally coated in white slip (or liquid white clay). Traces of gold are visible at the top of the wings and on the wreath, blue on the mantle red on the hair.' Burn queries the authenticity of the figure, remarking on its 'coy pose', 'affected set of the head' and 'sweet smile'. (1) If genuine, it is likely the figure was produced in Boeotia, the region in central Greece where the town of Tanagra is located.

The craze for Tanagra figurines in 19th century Europe led to the production of fakes. Only in recent years has it been possible to determine the authenticity of the figurines with thermoluminescence testing.

See this object on our Collections site here

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