Freud’s Eros

Significantly Freud – Eros

This painting of a small broken statue of Eros is one of my twelve smaller gilded paintings which together form Significantly Freud: Icons for a Jewish Atheist, representing my favourite twelve artefacts from the private collection of Sigmund Freud.

The Greek god Eros, the god of love, lust and the creative urge, is the source of our word ‘erotic’. His wife was Psyche, the origin of our word Psychology. The daughter of Eros, according to some myths, was Hedone, from whom we get our word “hedonistic”. 

Eros was supposedly the most handsome immortal with arrows of gold and lead. The golden arrows had dove feathers and these arrows could wound the hearts of humans leading to instant love. Being pierced by the lead arrows, which had owl feathers, led to indifference or distaste. In Roman mythology he was Cupid.

Die Begierde (Desire)

The painted red script, Die Begierde, translates as “Desire”. For me this signifies Freud’s psychoanalytic focus on the libido and sexual desire as dominant themes in his theory of psychoanalysis.

Freud’s original terracotta statue of Eros came from 300 BC Greece. It is only a tiny 85 mm x 50 mm size.  He found it charming, even though it was battered and broken.

One of my original sketches for this painting.

“This small figure of Eros, with a loop for hanging, was meant to be suspended in flight. In Greek mythology, Eros is the god of love and lust and the son of Aphrodite. This object is most likely from Tanagra, an archaeological site where such sculptures were mass produced and unearthed in large quantities from grave sites.

This Eros has his left leg forward and his right arm raised across his chest. Around his head is a narrow band and draped across his lower body is a chlamys, the robe worn by men. On his feet are boots. A clay loop between the figure’s wings (at rear) indicates it was designed to be suspended. Winged figurines were sometimes suspended from the ceiling of a home with ribbons.” (Freud Museum, London)

The colour of the frame and desktop in this painting was inspired by the colour of Freud’s desk, as well as some of the colours found in the beautiful tribal cushions and rugs around the room.