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The multiple Cupids frolicking in art are the decorative manifestation of these proliferating loves and desires.
During the English Renaissance, Christopher Marlowe wrote of "ten thousand Cupids"; in Ben Jonson's wedding masque Hymenaei, "a thousand several-coloured loves ... Cupid is winged, allegedly, because lovers are flighty and likely to change their minds, and boyish because love is irrational.
In myths, Cupid is a minor character who serves mostly to set the plot in motion.
He is a main character only in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons, he experiences the ordeal of love.
In contemporary popular culture, Cupid is shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day.
The Romans reinterpreted myths and concepts pertaining to the Greek Eros for Cupid in their own literature and art, and medieval and Renaissance mythographers conflate the two freely.
Cicero, however, says that there were three Cupids, as well as three Venuses: the first Cupid was the son of Mercury and Diana, the second of Mercury and the second Venus, and the third of Mars and the third Venus.
As described by Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1590s): Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.In the Greek tradition, Eros had a dual, contradictory genealogy.He was among the primordial gods who came into existence asexually; after his generation, deities were begotten through male-female unions.Venus laughs, and points out the poetic justice: he too is small, and yet delivers the sting of love.
The story was first told about Eros in the Idylls of Theocritus (3rd century BC). The untiring deceiver concocted another battle-plan: he lurked beneath the carnations and roses and when a maiden came to pick them, he flew out as a bee and stung her.Cupid carries two kinds of arrows, one with a sharp golden point, and the other with a blunt tip of lead.A person wounded by the golden arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire, but the one struck by the lead feels aversion and desires only to flee.At the same time, the Eros who was pictured as a boy or slim youth was regarded as the child of a divine couple, the identity of whom varied by source.