In this lovely painting, Cupid is about to shoot his arrow aimed at the beholder. The juvenile god of love stands in a forest landscape. He is virtually nude donning only a draped sash, his wings spread, and his gaze fixed upon us.
This utterly charming work was painted by the artist Paul Emil Jacobs (1802-1866). Jacobs was the son of the German literator Frederick Jacobs and studied at the Munich Academy of Arts. He travelled to Rome 1824, where his painting ‘The Resurrection of Lazarus’ was praised. Jacobs was renowned for his nudes, portraits and especially his Orientalist works, which were already coveted during his lifetime. This painting is a typical late work by the talented artist and is furthermore a striking example of German ‘Spätromantik’.
Cupid is the Roman god of love and is ordinarily depicted as a nude chubby, young winged boy with a bow and arrow. According to the mythological story, Cupid shoots enchanted arrows into people's hearts. Anyone is who is hit will instantly fall in love and be overcome by an uncontrollable desire. The beautiful golden arrows with their sharp points are famed but less known are the lead arrows with blunt tips. When they strike, the target will only feel aversion and the need to flee.
The canvas is stamped with ink on its reverse: ‘Malerleinwand Fabrik A. Schutzmann München’. The Schutzmann firm was an important supplier of painters’ canvases in Munich during the nineteenth century.