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The use of these arrows is described by the Latin poet Ovid in the first book of his Metamorphoses.
Cupids are a frequent motif of both Roman art and later Western art of the classical tradition.
In the 15th century, the iconography of Cupid starts to become indistinguishable from the putto.
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.
Although Eros is generally portrayed as a slender winged youth in Classical Greek art, during the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy.
During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire.
Cupid continued to be a popular figure in the Middle Ages, when under Christian influence he often had a dual nature as Heavenly and Earthly love.
In the Renaissance, a renewed interest in classical philosophy endowed him with complex allegorical meanings.
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.
Although other extended stories are not told about him, his tradition is rich in poetic themes and visual scenarios, such as "Love conquers all" and the retaliatory punishment or torture of Cupid.