The question refers to the statue of Eros sleeping, which resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and is dated to the 3rd or 2nd Century B.C. The image provided, however, is of the statue of Anteros that is located in London, and which clearly depicts the figure from Greek mythology associated with love, and whom was believed to be the brother of the more well-known mythological figure of Eros. What follows focuses on the statue in the photograph.
Sculptor Alfred Gilbert designed his work as a representation of the god of requited or selfless love, but conservative, Victorian sensibilities rejected the depiction of the naked body and its association with sexuality. Consequently, Gilbert’s statue was renamed The Angel of Christian Charity for the purpose of blurring its association with “love” or “passion.” The statue was erected in 1893 as a monument to Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury (1801-1885). Constructed of aluminum but positioned on a bronze fountain, Gilbert used as his model his 16-year-old assistant, Angelo Colarossi. Lord Shaftesbury was a philanthropist whose tenure in Parliament included notable efforts to reform England’s mental health system and to improve the condition of miners and factory workers. Gilbert’s statue had been commissioned by the Shaftesbury Memorial Committee, which coordinated its efforts with the local government, the London County Council. With respect to costs associated with the statue, Gilbert claimed to have been stuck with the tab as the final costs escalated well-beyond the amount he had been provided when initially commissioned to produce the memorial. It is known, however, that the County Council provided funding for the initiation of construction of the fountain. The best history of the statue’s history is at “British History Online,” at www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41457. Regrettably, information on the statue’s size has not been located.
The image of a lamassu, another mythological figure, is from the Assyrian period of Near Eastern history. Statues of lamassu in museums are generally dated to about 900-800 B.C. Lamassu, which translates as “protected spirits,” were usually depicted as winged bulls or lions with the head of a human. Their function was to protect palaces and temples, and they were primarily located in Mesopotamia, or current-day Iraq. The carving depicted is at the Louvre in Paris, and originated in Khorsabad in northern Iraq. As noted, its purpose would have been to protect whatever structure outside of which it was located. Such statues would have been commissioned and paid for by Assyrian elites, especially the kings. Sizes varied, but were usually massive, towering as much as 30 feet tall. Lamassu were usually depicted with five legs to give the impression of movement when viewed from the side or standing still when viewed from the front. Many were carved from gypsum, but bronze and stone were also routinely used.
Both statues depict mythological figures. Consequently, realism can be ruled out. The statue of Anteros is clearly curvilinear, whereas the lamassu in the photograph, being more of a carving than a statue as was traditionally constructed to guard entryways, can be considered curvilinear only in the sense that it involves curves; this particular sculpture is clearly not multidimensional in the same sense as the statue of Anteros.