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Title A Child Dressed as Cupid
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist Unknown
Previously attributed to Vallin, Jacques Antoine (French painter, 1760-after 1831)
Date Earliest probably about 1700
Date Latest probably about 1780
Description Cupid, the Roman god of love and son of Venus, is often represented in art as a small, winged boy, sometimes blindfolded, carrying a bow and arrows. The arrows, once they have struck the heart, make the victim fall in love. This portrait is probably that of a real child dressed as Cupid, as it was rather fashionable in the seventeenth and eighteenth century for the higher classes to be represented in the guise of mythological characters. Mythologising portraits allowed to glorify the sitter by giving him/her ideal physical qualities, or at least placed the sitter under a particular god/goddess's benevolent attention.
Current Accession Number B.M.895
Former Accession Number No. 162
Subject portrait; mythology (Cupid)
Measurements 64.5 x 53 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.
Notes This was listed as no. 162 in John Bowes' catalogue, under the title 'Portrait of a Child as Cupid with an arrow in its hand, School of Vallin, eighteenth Century'.
Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Maylis Hopewell-Curie




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